PATTANI, Thailand (AP) - At least 78 people were suffocated or crushed to
death after being arrested and packed into police trucks after a riot in
southern Thailand, officials said Tuesday.
The announcement dramatically increased the death toll from the latest
eruption of violence in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south to 84. Officials
had earlier said that six people were shot to death during clashes Monday
at a police station in Narathiwat province.
Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan, a forensics expert who works for the Justice
Ministry, told a news conference Tuesday that she and a team of doctors
conducted autopsies on 78 bodies at an army camp in Pattani province and
found that most of them had perished from suffocation.
The dead were among some 1,300 people arrested Monday following the police
Maj. Gen. Sinchai Nujsathit, deputy commander of the fourth army, said the
victims may have died from suffocation ''because we had more than 1,300
people packed into the six-wheel trucks.'