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Police major killed as bomb planted by suspected insurgents in Yala explodes
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2023
A senior police officer was killed and four others were injured when a bomb exploded while they were examining a crime scene in the southern border province of Yala, police said on Friday.
Police Major Prasan Kongprasit, the investigation inspector at Bannang Sata District Police Station, succumbed to injuries inflicted by a homemade explosive device.
Four others were wounded by shrapnel from the explosion. They were identified as Pol Corporal Suthat Mool-ngoen, Pol Sgt-Major Suwit Thanawong, and Pol Corporal Kraisri Rojnotom. The name of the last victim was still unknown.
The officers were inspecting a scene along the Bannang Sata to Thanto Road, where many backhoes and graders of road construction company Yala Highway had been set on fire the previous night.
A gunfight ensued between police paratroopers at the scene and a group of suspected insurgents. More reinforcements were requested from the military and the Border Patrol Police as the armed encounter continued.
Violence has remained intense in the Muslim-majority deep South as the separatist insurgency entered its 20th year last month.
In 2022, a total of 29 people were killed – an average of 2.5 a month – well below the monthly average of four over the past five years. However, the number of injured people, 123, represented a 156% increase over 2021, according to Benar News.
“Although that represented an increase in casualties, these numbers are a blip compared with a decade ago, when more than 10 times the number of people were killed and six times the number were wounded,” the news agency reported.
Among the dead, 38% were members of the security forces. They also made up 68% of the people injured in regional violence in 2022, the report said.
The number of attacks involving homemade bombs rose sharply last year. There were 69 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in 2022, an average of 5.75 a month. In contrast, there were only 33 and 19 IED attacks in 2020 and 2021, respectively, the report said.
In 2022, bomb-squad personnel defused six IEDs. There were also six grenade attacks.
Other violence included 11 arson attacks and eight attacks on cellular and electricity towers. There were some 11 separate attacks on the railways, including a December 3 bombing that derailed 11 of 20 freight cars. That was followed by a bomb the next day that targeted first responders.