Conditions at the prison in Muang district returned to normal after a combined team of police, soldiers and local officials moved in and arrested those involved in the violence, Pattani deputy governor Veeranant Pengchan said today (July 16).
The riot broke out at 4:30pm yesterday (July 15) and involved 100 inmates.
Some threw stones and scrap wood at guards who tried to intervene. The rioters then set fire to the canteen and other properties. Ten fire trucks were called to the scene and the flames were put out.
Talks were held earlier between prison officials and rioters who presented a list of 10 demands that were later rejected. Details of the demands were not disclosed.
As the situation became tense, security forces were deployed. Some 300 police, soldiers and local officials moved in to arrest those involved in the riot, which ended around 11pm, said Mr Veeranant.
The damage to inmates’ living quarters and other prison facilities is still being estimated.
The three dead inmates were identified as Su-anant Pongsao, Serm Chankhunthorn and Kriatisak Chanduang. Su-anant sustained stab wounds when a brawl erupted among the inmates. He was taken to Pattani Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Serm and Kiartisak perished of severe burns during the fire.
Local media reports said some inmates were thrown into the fire during the melee.
The four injured guards were Suthep Phetkiang, 56; Kartkong Rattana, 53; Sulaiman Khongkaew, 45; and Siwakorn Jitrat, 30. They sustained head injuries after being struck by hard objects and stones.
Relatives of the inmates flocked to the prison to seek information about the incident and the condition of jailed family members.
Charnchao Chaiyanukit, the permanent secretary of the Justice Ministry, today confirmed the reports that three inmates had died.
Two of the dead inmates had served as helpers of guards and were killed by their fellow inmates during the riot, said Mr Charnchao. The third inmate was killed after the riot was brought under control. The causes of the deaths were being investigated, he said.
He said the riot was instigated by two inmates: one indicted on charges of theft and another jailed for attempted murder. They had breached prison rules and faced transfers to another prison, said Mr Charnchao.
Authorities plan to expand the investigation to find out what triggered the riot, how other inmates joined in and whether officials followed proper procedures to re-establish control, he said.
After the riot, about 300 inmates were transferred to four prisons in nearby Songkhla province: Na Thawi district prison, Songkhla provincial prison, Songkhla central prison and Songkhla correctional facility.
The transfers were aimed at regaining control of the facility in Pattani and did not mean that all the inmates in question were involved in the riot, said Mr Charnchao. Officials are preparing to explain the transfers to relatives of those involved.
Transport is being arranged for relatives to visit the transferred inmates at the facilities in Songkhla. The transfers were not permanent, he added.
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