Guns and Suspects Seized in Pursuit of Pattani School Gunmen

Soldiers investigate the area where an abandoned motorcycle was found Friday they believe was used by gunmen who killed four paramilitary officers in a Pattani school earlier this week.
Soldiers investigate the area where an abandoned motorcycle was found Friday they believe was used by gunmen who killed four paramilitary officers in a Pattani school earlier this week.

PATTANI — Five suspects were being questioned following an attack on a Pattani school that killed four paramilitary volunteers, police said Friday.

Four more men believed to have played a role in the attack have been taken into custody since a first was apprehended following a firefight with police in the vicinity of the attack, according to the provincial police commander.

Maj. Gen. Piyawat Chalermsri said by phone today that investigators have also recovered several pieces of evidence including guns, uniforms and motorcycles believed used in the shooting in the Yarang district.

An AK-47 was recovered from a khlong and two banana clips from the forest. He said only one of the five suspects was likely involved as a gunman, while the others could be accessories.

Read: Four Soldiers Shot Dead on Pattani School Campus

A sixth man is still on the run following yesterday’s gun battle in Pattani City, Piyawat said, adding that up to eight gunmen could have been involved in the Thursday morning attack. Three stolen motorcycles were abandoned in the city area following a police pursuit of suspicious individuals.

Four school guards from the Volunteer Defense Corps were shot dead and their guns stolen at the Ban Bukoh School by assailants disguised as patrolling rangers, according to police.

Classes remain canceled today and will resume Monday, the dean of the elementary school said, adding that students were still in shock by the assault, which happened while they were in class.

Though the attackers are believed to be separatists who have waged a bloody independence campaign for nearly 15 years, Piyawat said they still don’t know which group they belonged to.