11 July 2024

A village headman and an insurgent were killed and two police officers injured when a combined force of troops, police and local officials tried to search a house in the Nong Chik district of the southern province of Pattani on Monday.

Suspected insurgents, who were believed to be involved in the firebomb attacks on 17 convenience stores and gas stations in Pattani Province on August 17th, were thought to be hiding in one of the five houses in Village 7 of Don Rak sub-district.

With several villagers living in the same neighbourhood, the security forces had exercised caution when searching and had invited local religious leaders to help them communicate with the suspects and to get them to surrender.

The talks were futile, as there was no response from the suspects. The security forces, with the help of the village headman, 50-year-old Jeh Muhamad Yaki Jehdeng, then searched each of the houses, until they reached last one on the edge of the village.

As they were approaching the house, gunfire erupted from the house, hitting the headman and two police officers, who were quickly rushed to hospital. The headman was later pronounced dead.

The rest of the security forces then stormed the house and killed one of the suspects, who had six outstanding arrest warrants against him. One handgun was also found by his side.

Lt-Gen Santi Sakuntanark, commander of the Fourth Army Region, visited the relatives of the dead village headman last night, at the provincial hospital, and promised them full compensation.

The headman was posthumously praised by the Department of Provincial Administration as a model citizen for his sacrifice.