CHIANGRAI TIMES – Sixteen Paramilitary Rangers protecting the Red Cross fair were wounded by a bomb explosion in Pattani province early Monday morning. The 16 were in a group of about 20 rangers of the 7th Company of the 43rd Rangers Regiment traveling on a pick-up truck and a military truck while returning to their base in Tambon Bo Thong of Nong Chick district.
The attack occurred shortly after midnight when the two vehicles stopped at Ban Don Rak intersection on the Pattani – Hat Yai section of Highway 42. A 3kg bomb inside a gas cylinder hung behind the stop sign was detonated by a radio signal militants hiding nearby.
The militants then opened fire at the rangers. After a brief exchange of shots the militant fled into the dark.
Sixteen rangers, 10 women and six men, were wounded by the explosion, but not seriously.
The explosion shattered the windows of the two vehicles, which were also riddled with shrapnel.
Earlier on Saturday night, one policeman, a defense volunteer, and five civilians were hurt when a hand grenade exploded at the checkpoint near the clock tower on Wichit Chaiboonkhet road in the Narathiwat municipality, where police and defence volunteers were on security duty for the annual Red Cross fair.
Pol Col Sathanfa Wamasing, chief of the investigation section of Narathiwat police, said the grenade was believed to have been hurled over a wall from a mosque near the checkpoint.
The explosion caused minor injuries to seven people, who were admitted to Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Hospital.
One suspect, identified as Hadafi Sedommad, was arrested. He was being interrogated.
Since the resurgence of insurgency in January 2004, over 11,000 violent incidents have happened in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat which were once part of independent sultanate of Pattani. In total, over 5,200 people have been killed and nearly 8,000 wounded.