YALA, Thailand (Reuters) - A Buddhist woman was shot and burned alive in Thailand’s violence-torn Muslim-majority south on Wednesday, prompting angry protests in front of visiting army chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin.
Watcharaporn Boonmak, 26, was ambushed by gunmen as she rode her motorcycle through a Muslim village in Yala, one of the three southern provinces roiled by three years of separatist insurgency in which more than 2,000 people have been killed.
“She might have been shot in the stomach before they set fire to her and her motorcycle,” a Yala police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters by telephone.
One of her relatives told Reuters that witnesses at the scene heard Watcharaporn, a garage clerk, screaming and crawling along the road for help but nobody dared respond for fear of reprisals. ...
“It is the most cruel and brutal thing I’ve seen in my life,” Jaran Kongchuay said as he joined hundreds of Buddhists bearing Watcharaporn’s charred body on a hospital stretcher to the provincial hall, demanding action from Sonthi. “Beheading or burning alive, no one is arrested!” one of their placards read. “Will the government please pay closer attention to the three southern border provinces?” another said.