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YALA: The risk of being blown to smithereens has become an fact of everyday life for people in the Deep South as attacks by insurgents continue to occur on an almost daily basis.

However, the insurgents are not the only threat in such a weapons-saturated environment. Even close friends can be dangerous, as five young men found out when their friend in the Rangers paid them a visit on the evening of December 15.

Theeraphat Bunla-iat, 22, Jakraphong Nudang, 16, Kamolphan Thepsuk, 20, Phichet Ja-iat, 20, and Yingyot Srisuwan, 20, were sat chatting in their house in Yala Town when Rangers volunteer Prachaya Nawabut, their 25-year-old neighbor, stumbled in after an afternoon of drinking.

Obviously unsatisfied and seeking to add a bit of a thrill to proceedings, he pulled out an M26 grenade and began to play with it.

Drunkards and weaponry are always a potentially explosive combination, one best dealt with by a quick exit from the scene. Soon enough, the inevitable happened. The grenade fell from Prachaya’s hands, the pin remaining in his fingers.

With drunken desperation, Prachaya scrabbled on the floor to pick it up, but in his inebriated state was too slow. The grenade went off, taking both his hands with it.

His unfortunate neighbors, who just a few minutes before had been enjoying a civilized evening, were hit with a barrage of shrapnel; all five had to be taken to hospital for emergency treatment.

Prachaya, who took the brunt of the blast, died from his injuries.

There was no comment from his unit commander as to how volunteer soldier able to take a grenade out on the town with him.