Soldier Kills 20 People and Injures Dozens in Gun Rampage in Thailand

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A soldier has killed 20 people and injured dozens more in a gun rampage in the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Jakraphanth Thomma, a junior officer, killed his commanding officer before stealing weapons from a military camp.

Soldier Kills 20 People and Injures Dozens in Gun Rampage in Thailand
Soldier Kills 20 People and Injures Dozens in Gun Rampage in Thailand. Picture by AP via BBC

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed that 16 people had died at the scene of the shootings, with another four dying later in hospital.

A total of 31 people have been injured, with 10 of them in a critical condition.

But there are fears the numbers could rise. The suspect continued his attack in a shopping centre, where he is now believed to be holed up, initially posting updates on his social media.

The gunman’s motives remain unclear.

What is the situation now?

Authorities sealed off the Terminal 21 shopping centre in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, on Saturday evening.

Troops and police officers entered in order to search for the suspect and help those trapped inside, with ambulances brought up to the complex to ferry away the injured.

Throughout the evening there were sporadic reports of further gunshots, lasting into the early hours of the morning. The gunman appeared to try to escape via the back of the building but remains in the complex.

Thai media report that one police officer was killed and at least three injured in the early morning exchanges, but this has not been officially confirmed.

Renewed shots rang out at about 05:00 local time on Sunday (22:00 GMT Saturday) as reinforcements were deployed.

It is not known how many people are still in the complex.

The Bangkok Post reported earlier that the suspect, who it said was 32 years old, had taken hostages, but this also has not been officially confirmed.

The suspect’s mother was also brought to the shopping centre to try to persuade him to give himself up.

One of the people freed told the BBC how she and others hid in a bathroom on the fourth floor, before fleeing to the second and hiding under a restaurant table for three hours, hearing at least four gunshots before she saw some soldiers and could get to safety.

How did the attack unfold?

It began at about 15:30 local time on Saturday (08:30 GMT) at the Suatha Phithak military camp, where the commanding officer, named by the Bangkok Post as Col Anantharot Krasae, was killed.

The Post said a 63-year-old woman, Col Anantharot’s mother-in-law, and another soldier were also killed there.

The suspect seized arms and ammunition from the camp before taking a Humvee-type vehicle.

He then opened fire at a number of sites before arriving at Terminal 21 at about 18:00 local time (11:00 GMT).

Local media footage appeared to show the suspect getting out of his vehicle and firing shots as people fled.

CCTV footage showed him inside the shopping centre with a raised rifle.

Other footage showed a fire outside the building with some reports saying it was caused by a gas canister that exploded when it was hit with a bullet. One of the suspect’s social media posts featured an image of himself with the fire in the background.

Prim Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is following developments and expressed condolences to the families of those killed, a spokeswoman said.

The public health minister has put out an appeal for people to donate blood at hospitals in the area.

What did the suspect post on social media?

He posted on his social media accounts during the attack, with one post on Facebook asking whether he should surrender.

He had earlier posted an image of a pistol with three sets of bullets, along with the words “it is time to get excited” and “nobody can avoid death.”

Facebook has now taken the page down.

It said: “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this tragedy in Thailand. There is no place on Facebook for people who commit this kind of atrocity, nor do we allow people to praise or support this attack.” [BBC]

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1 COMMENT

  1. 5G network is most probably the causes of this act of terrorism. Also breaking news at this hour is (CNN)At least nine people — four of them minors — have been killed and two others wounded in a shooting at a video arcade in Mexico.
    The massacre happened in Uruapan, in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, on Monday, according to the state’s attorney general’s office.
    Four people walked into the amusement arcade, asked questions of some patrons and began firing with military-grade weapons, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

    At least four of the dead are minors between the ages of 12 and 17, the statement added. An 18-year-old and a 39-year-old are also among the dead.

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