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10 injured in South hospital bombing

Officials believe attack was aimed at team of defence volunteers nearby

TEN PEOPLE, including three defence volunteers, were injured yesterday in a motorcycle bomb attack at Pattani's Khok Pho Hospital, while a subsequent fire damaged dozens of motorcycle parked nearby.

The hospital's director said this was the restive region's first attack on a hospital compound, while police suspect insurgency sympathisers carried out the 9.30am bombing in the hospital's parking lot for motorcycles.

After firefighters managed to put out the fire in 30 minutes, Pattani police chief Pol Maj-General Phothi Suaysuwan led a forensic and bomb disposal police team to inspect the scene and collect evidence.

He said the 10-kilogram bomb was hidden in a Honda Wave motorbike that had been reported stolen from Nong Chik district on January 20.

Police believe the bomb was aimed at some defence volunteers stationed at a roadside pavilion 10 metres from the parking lot. The three wounded defence volunteers were identified as Rohimee Binpa, Muhammad Kade and Sulkifi Mohsu.

"I've been in the region for 25 years, and this is the first time that a hospital has been bombed," hospital director Dr Udomkiat Pulsawat said. "I'm very puzzled because according to international rules, nobody is allowed to bomb a hospital."

However, since the area is a declared "safety zone", he believed the defence volunteers at a roadside pavilion near the hospital were the real target.

Udomkiat said the hospital would implement tighter security measures, adding that police were checking CCTV camera footage from the hospital's only entrance for suspects.

Meanwhile, Pattani Governor Wittaya Panichpong yesterday presented Bt6.6 million in compensation to 14 people affected by the May 24 unrest in the province. The fateful night saw some 20 bomb attacks that killed three people, wounded 50 others and damaged 14 electric poles.

As of yesterday, the situation appeared to be returning to normal, except for an impassable road in tambon Taluboh and a blackout at tambon Bana, with electricity being restored by 4pm.

Work on the railway bridge in Narathiwat's Rangae district's tambon Tanyongmas, which was bomb-ed on May 14, is nearly 75 per cent complete and will be reinforced and strengthened with metal sheets to make it stronger. Train services in the South will resume on June 1.

Meanwhile, Ban Moo 8 headman Abraheng Beuraheng was shot dead in a market in Yala's Yaha district yesterday morning. The victim and his wife were shopping when two young men approached from behind and shot Abraheng in the back of the head before fleeing with the victim's pistol.


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