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2 NARATHIWAT POLICE SHOT DEAD AFTER ABDUCTION

Two policemen were found shot dead in Narathiwat province early Wednesday after they were abducted by gunmen last night.

Police said they were notified of the abduction at about 7:30pm on Tuesday. Witnesses said nearly 10 armed men dressed as soldiers kidnapped the two officers of Cho-airong police station while they were resting in a local tea shop and drove them away in a truck belonging to one of the officers. Their bodies were found in a roadside ditch past midnight about 200 meters away from where they were last seen.

Both policemen were found with two gunshot wounds to the head and torso, and their hands tied with ropes. Police said a preliminary investigation suggests they were forced out of the car before being shot at close range and dumped at the scene.

Burnt wreckage of the stolen truck was found hours later in the neighboring Tak Bai district which shares the border with Malaysia. Investigators said they were unable to retrieve DNA or fingerprints from the vehicle due to the fire.

Police said three guns including an automatic rifle belonging to the two officers were missing and believed to have been taken by the perpetrators. Authorities suspect they may have fled the country.

Maj. Gen. Dussadee Chusangkij, Narathiwat province police chief, said the attack could be a retaliation for when police shot dead two leaders of an insurgency group Feb. 11 in Chanae district. k