10
Jun
09

Narathiwat Attack: Witnesses tell the story

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More details come out regarding the attack on a Mosque in Narathiwat, south Thailand…

Witnesses said about 10 unidentified attackers came in four groups, with three of them opening fire in the mosque and the other standing outside.

They fired from the front door, the side window and the back window. The attack lasted about two minutes.

Narathiwat police found 105 M-16 assault rifle and shotgun cartridges inside and outside the mosque.

The attack happened on the day Mr Abhisit secured cooperation from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during his visit to Putrajaya, the Malaysian administrative centre.

The attack came after soldiers and other security authorities, including those assigned to escort local teachers, had been targetted by insurgents over the past few weeks.

It also came amid revelations the armed forces were facing spending cuts amounting to 19 billion baht. The army alone is having 10 billion baht slashed from its budget.

But Mr Abhisit brushed aside speculation the shooting was connected with the 2010 budget allocation.

“The budget planning is a done deal,” the prime minister said. “It is a pipe dream to think this will change budget spending.”

Mr Abhisit urged investigators to speed up the investigation while assuring the government remains in control of the situation.

Mrs Angkhana, who chairs the Working Group for Justice and Peace, called on the government to give investigators a free hand in their work.

Without a credible investigation into the incident and justice guaranteed to the villagers, their confidence in state authorities would be further eroded, Mrs Angkhana said, as “they have no trust in the authorities”.

Following the massacre, rumours spread that security forces orchestrated the attack. Villagers at the mosque tend to believed that security forces could be involved in the shooting, said Mrs Angkhana, who was contacted by some villagers after the incident.

She said only “fanatic” Muslims would spray bullets into the mosque while people were praying.

But army chief Anupong Paojinda rejected a claim that security forces were behind the attack.

He condemned the shooting, saying it was a cruel and barbaric act which was orchestrated to draw international attention to the southern strife.

“They are trying to raise this issue to a level of international concern. They are trying to create an impression that the state is harming innocent people,” Gen Anupong said.

Meanwhile, tension gripped Yala yesterday after militants went on a spree to create chaos in several districts.

They launched a bomb attack, left several fake bombs at different locations, blew up a transformer, felled trees and burned car tyres to block roads.There was an explosion at a parking lot of Saha Yala Transport Co in Muang district at about 8am. Two company employees were injured in the blast.


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