Key suspected insurgent killed in shootout in Yala province
A suspected insurgent, wanted by Thai police for alleged involvement in several violent incidents in the restive Deep South, including a roadside bomb attack in Yala Province last Friday in which a police major was killed and four other policemen injured, was shot dead by government forces in Yala on Tuesday morning.
The suspect was identified by authorities as Ibrahim Salae, 42. He was reputed to be specialised in bomb making. Salae, according to authorities, was involved in several bomb attacks on petrol stations and, lately, the torching of construction equipment of the Yala Highway Company and the bomb attack on a police unit on its way to investigate the arson in Yala last Friday. A police major was killed and four of his men were injured by the roadside bomb.
Acting on a tipoff that Salae was hiding in a house in Village 1 in Ban Rae sub-district, a combined force of troops, paramilitary rangers and police was dispatched to lay siege to the house at about 4.30am this morning.
Instead of charging into the house, the force adhered to the rules of engagement by attempting to persuade Salae to come out of the house and surrender. Community and religious leaders were also asked to help in persuading him to surrender.
At about 5.45am, Salae opened fire with his handgun as he tried to break the cordon, but was shot dead at the scene. A 9mm pistol was found by his side.
Lt-Gen Santi Sakuntanark, commander of the Fourth Army Region in charge of security affairs in southern region, expressed his condolences to the family of Salae. He also told villagers, mostly Malay Muslims, to have confidence that government forces exercise caution and would, step-by-step, apply intensifying measures to deal with suspected insurgents, in accordance with the rules of engagement.
He explained that authorities had to use force against Salae because the suspect did not surrender and started firing first.