FAR SOUTH / BREAKOUT, BATTLEFIELD MEDICINE
Manhunt for six escaped rebel suspects
Malaysia asked to help watch the border
WAEDAO HARAI and MUHAMMAD AYUB PATHAN
A huge manhunt is underway for six suspected insurgents, including an alleged senior member of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), who escaped from police detention in Narathiwat yesterday.
More than 300 policemen were deployed from all 13 districts of the province to search for the escapees, focussing first on relatives' houses. Soldiers and administrative officials also joined the search.
The escapees _ Nasree Muelee, Arong Dueramae, Atri Jeloh, Ahamad Sareesamoh, Nisa-uti Nimae and Noroding Binbueraheng _ were in custody at Narathiwat police headquarters behind the Tanyong police station in Muang district.
They are all from Narathiwat.
Mr Nasree is believed to be the head of a special attack unit of the BRN and is wanted on 10 security-related charges.
Pol Maj-Gen Pongsak Nakkawijit, the chief of Narathiwat police, said the six may have fled on a boat moored near the Tanyong police station.
A police source said the six men had been detained in a canteen converted into an interrogation building in the compound of the police station.
Photos of the escapees were distributed in communities where they may have gone into hiding.
Narathiwat governor Karan Supakijvilekka said he has instructed district chiefs to contact relatives of the escapees and obtain information which may be helpful in tracking them down.
The escapees may not have gone far and could be in neighbouring provinces.
The governor said he would also get in touch with Malaysian authorities in case the escapees crossed the border.
A police bomb disposal squad de-activated a seven-kilogramme bomb under a tree on the side of a road in Narathiwat's Rangae district yesterday.
The bomb was planted close to a spot where teachers are regularly picked up by a team of soldiers and escorted home.
The bomb was spotted by a rubber plantation owner, who alerted authorities. Two teenagers were believed to have left it there on Saturday.
In Yala's Krong Pinang district, a Muslim man was shot dead by two gunmen yesterday. Police said Isma-ee Purong, 47, was killed as he was watching television at a grocery in tambon Purong. Witnesses said two men went into the shop and shot him in the head before fleeing on a motorcycle.