Uproar follows a fatal bombing at a cemetery which killed a ranger
The killing of a paramilitary ranger as he was performing a burial ceremony for his dead mother at a cemetery in Yala’s Muang district on Sunday December 13 caused an uproar among local Muslims in his community as the cemetery is regarded as a sacred place which should be free from violence.
The victim, Zai Jehdoma, who was attached to the 43rd paramilitary ranger regiment, died instantly by the force of the explosion from a home-made bomb buried in the grave of his mother whose body was also blown out of the grave. His father, 63-year old Arsee Jehdoma, who was about 10 metres from his son was injured.
On the following day on December 14, Yala deputy governor Udorn Noitaptim, Colonel Therdsak Ngamsanong, deputy commander of the Yala task force, and Yala’s Muang district chief officer Kongsakul Chantharat joined about 300 Muslims in converging in front of a masjid in Ban Bo Jed Look in Tambon Yupo to pray for peace and to protest against violence.
Colonel Therdsak thanked the crowd for showing up to express condolence for the family of Zai Jehdoma. He said that troops were assigned to the restive Deep South to protect members of the public as top priority.
Security authorities in the province suspected that the bomb explosion was perpetrated by separatists because the victim was a paramilitary ranger whom they regarded as an enemy. But other people thought otherwise.
The victim, according to his wife Mrs Sansanee, used to be shot at once two years ago but he escaped unhurt. He reportedly told his wife that the risk of death was part of his job that he accepted.
Mrs Sansanee said that Zai was the breadwinner of the family and now without him it would be very tough for her to take care of their four children aged 19 to three the youngest and Arsee, the victim’s father.
Arsee recalled the moment of the bomb explosion. He said he just finished with reading the Qaran when there was a thunderous explosion. He said he saw the body of his wife wrapped in white cloth being thrown out of the grave and Zia’s body being thrown into the air.
Arsee said his mouth was filled up with earth as he tried to call for help. The old man further said he didn’t expect that a Muslim would have committed such an act at a cemetery which is regarded as a sacred place.
However, some villagers who used to know the victim said that before joining the paramilitary Zai used to work for an influential official in their village who eventually died in an accident.