Thailand bids final farewell to victims of nursery massacre

Bangkok, Oct 11 (EFE).- Family members and close friends bid their last farewell on Tuesday to the victims of a mass shooting and stabbing at a kindergarten in which 37 people, including 22 children, were killed in the northeastern Thai province of Nong Bua Lamphu last week.


After three days of ceremonies at various temples, the funeral rites came to an end with the cremations of the victims following a day of Buddhist prayers.

Parents mourn as their beloved children’s coffins were cremated during the royal sponsored mass cremation rite for those who were killed in a mass shooting at Wat Rat Samakkee temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province, Thailand, 11 October 2022. EFE/EPA/NARONG SANGNAK


Traditionally, cremations are carried out individually, but due to the large number of victims, Tuesday’s were carried out in groups.
Relatives and loved ones left toys, including bicycles and stuffed animals, for the spirits of the children, a tradition in Thai funerals.


On Thursday last week, 34-year-old former police officer Panya Kamrab burst into a nursery in Uthai Sawan and carried out a violent gun and knife attack, killing at least 37 people, among them 22 children, authorities said.


He then fled in a white pickup truck, sparking a manhunt, and went to his house where he murdered his wife and son before committing suicide.


Among the fatalities in the nursery, which catered for children from the age of two to five, was a pregnant teacher. Another 15 were wounded, eight of them seriously.

A Thai Buddhist monk leads a mourning mother as she holds a photograph of her child and followed by police officers carring a coffin to the funeral pyre during the royal sponsored mass cremation rite for those who were killed in a mass shooting at Wat Rat Samakkee temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province, Thailand, 11 October 2022. EFE/EPA/NARONG SANGNAK


Uthai Sawan is a sleepy town of about 6,300 people in Thailand’s impoverished, rural north-east, where most of the villagers are farmers.


The massacre shocked Uthai Sawan and the rest of the country, as well as the international community.


Gun ownership in Thailand is relatively high compared with other countries in the region, but mass shootings of this nature are rare.


In 2020, a soldier killed at least 29 people and wounded 58 in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province.


Last month, a soldier shot dead two colleagues and wounded another at the Army War College of the Army Training Command in Bangkok. EFE
grc-sm/mp/jt