A ranger volunteer was arrested after shots were fired at a school bus at a military checkpoint in Yaring district on Thursday evening. There were no casualties.
Kasan Nudlae, 36, was taken into custody at Koh Morkaeng checkpoint in Nong Chik district of this southern border province. He had fled in a pickup truck after the shooting in Yaring.
An investigation has begun. Stress was suspected to be behind the incident.
Col Kriattisak Neewong, spokesman of the Internal Security Operations Command’s Region 4 Forward Command, said on Friday that ranger volunteer Kasan admitted having fired his gun accidentally. He had explained that he was suffering from stress caused by a family problem.
He learned afterwards that the bullets hit the school bus.
Col Kriattisak said three bullet holes were found in the bus, above the front passenger door. There were no students in the vehicle at the time
Col Kriattisak said the man had not sprayed the bus with bullets as widely circulated on social media.
He expressed regret for the incident, and gave an assurance that the ranger would face serious disciplinary punishment.
Mr Kasan would be dismissed from the ranger volunteer service, he added.
Criminal charges were a matter for police to decide, Col Kriattisak said.
Col Somkid Khongkhaeng, commander of the 42nd ranger task force, said the shooting was accidental, Thai media reported.
The incident occurred on Thursday evening at a military checkpoint on the Pattani-Narathiwat Road in tambon Saban of Yaring district, Pol Capt Theera Eiadchata, deputy investigation chief for Yaring district, said. It was reported to police about 6.30pm.
Police sent to the scene reported finding a school bus belonging to Sai Buri Islam Witthaya School, a private school in Pattani, parked in front of the checkpoint. There were bullet holes above the front door, near the driver’s seat. Nobody was hurt.
Witnesses told police three shots had been fired.
The school bus was driven by a man identified only as Ma and was returning from taking students to their homes after school. When it was hit by bullets at the checkpoint the driver stopped the vehicle, abandoned it and ran for his life.