A motorcycle bomb targeting a military convoy in Pattani province killed three Army paramilitary rangers and wounded seven others yesterday morning.
Security sources said the blast, which was directed at a convoy of the 2204th Ranger Company, was a time-sensitive attack and likely resulted from an inside job, as the company had been newly ordered to relocate and the schedule for the trip was confidential.
Two rangers were killed instantly at the scene, on Route 418 linking Pattani and Yala, while another was later pronounced dead at hospital.
The blast from the parked explosives-packed motorcycle hit the last vehicle of the four-truck convoy, which was carrying 50 rangers in total.
The motorcycle, a Honda Wave with a fake licence plate, is believed to have been reported stolen last month in Mae Lan district. It was one of many on a vehicles-to-watch list made public by the provincial police headquarters.
A detailed auto-registration check later showed that the motorcycle had originally been reported stolen in July 2009 from Muang Pattani district.
The detonation method used was not known in incident reports given as of press time yesterday evening.
A manhunt was launched for the perpetrators after a camp was found near the scene of the attack.
A meeting of intelligence services was later held to establish how the confidential details over the relocation of the Ranger company and the convoy's schedule had apparently been leaked to insurgents.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha yesterday restated the policy laid down by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for the immediate and efficient integration of all security measures in the deep South.
He said a workshop on the issue comprising 17 ministries and other agencies would take place from May 17 at Government House.
The integration of security measures is an essential objective of a new strategic national plan to turn new policies into action, one of which focuses on deploying more troops and rangers in the deep South to take over full control from military units from other areas, he said.
"The three-year time frame expects to see up to 30-per-cent completion by this year's end, reaching 100 per cent by the end of the period," the deputy PM added.