Bomb by Tak Bai school' PM to discuss peach process with Najib on Friday.
PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha is set to raise the issue of peace talks in the deep South with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak, who will be in Bangkok on Friday, after a bomb attack killed a father and daughter and one other in Narathiwat yesterday.
A Muslim man and his five-year-old daughter were killed when a motorcycle bomb exploded outside a shop opposite the child’s school in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district yesterday morning. Four policemen who were directing traffic and several civilians were also wounded in the blast opposite Ban Taba School in Tambon Jeh He at 8.25am.
Mayeng Wohba, 36, and his daughter Mitra, who were riding a motorbike to school, were killed at the scene, while bystander Talmisi Mada-oh, 23, died later.
Investigators found that insurgents had detonated the bomb while policemen were directing traffic in front of the school.
Police said the motorcycle used in the attack was stolen from Ek Sunsakul and his wife Benjawan who were shot dead on June 19 in Tambon Bang Khun Thong of Tak Bai. A 20-kilogram cooking gas cylinder embedded in the motorcycle frame was |detonated by a communication radio.
Narathiwat 31 Special Task Force chief Kritsana Yuangsa-ard said the authorities believe the militant group led by Romlee Jehyee was behind the attack.
The blast targeting schoolchildren has been condemned by Thai authorities and civic groups. “It is of the utmost importance that children do not become victims of violent acts carried out by armed groups,” Allison Zelkowitz, country director of Save the Children, said.
The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) deputy chief Boonrak Yodphetch said Obec would provide about Bt700,000 in compensation to the student’s family.
The office, in coordination with the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre, has set up a system to provide security to teachers and students in the deep South during school term, he said. Obec has also installed security cameras, he added.
Separately, Army chief General Teerachai Nakwanich said yesterday he plans to go to the deep South on Friday to urge security officers to not be negligent, as it may lead to attacks like the one near Ban Taba School.
Ongoing peace talks
Recent attacks might be partially linked to the ongoing peace dialogue with Mara Patani, an umbrella organisation of insurgent groups, he said.
A Thai government delegation met Mara Patani in Kuala Lumpur last week to seek ways to kickstart peace talks. They said the two sides had agreed on the terms of reference, though many observers doubt whether the dialogue can go ahead as the government does not recognise Mara.
On Friday, Prayut and Najib are expected to announce that Kuala Lumpur cooperate in restoring peace in the deep South and will continue playing “facilitator” for the peace talks process.
The continued role was announced in a joint press statement after the Thai Cabinet approved it yesterday.
The two premiers will also discuss the exchange of intelligence in a move to cope with transnational terrorism and extremism, as well as transnational crime, cyber security, human trafficking, boundary management and maritime management with a focus on piracy issues.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said intelligence warnings about the Ban Taba incident and Saturday’s train-track bombing in the Khok Pho district, which killed one and injured three others, had been issued at the last moment. This prevented authorities from stopping the incidents.
In line with additional security measures ordered by the Fourth Army Region chief, police officers were spotted yesterday screening bags and travellers at Songkhla’s Hat Yai Train Station. This was being done in preparation for the resumption of train services to the deep South, expected on September 10 ahead of the Hari Raya Festival on September 12.