Police say pickup used for Betong attack stolen from Pattani; suspects fled in stolen van
Police are on the lookout for three suspects captured on closed-circuit cameras while a spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 Front said yesterday that the pickup truck used in Friday’s car-bomb attack in front of the Holiday Hill Hotel in Yala’s Betong district was stolen from Pattani.
The blast killed two persons and left 42 injured. Colonel Pramote Phrom-in said six of the wounded were in a critical condition and 17 people were hospitalised.
Pramote offered condolences to the families of those killed and wounded in what he called an “inhuman action”.
He urged all sections of society, especially human-rights activists and religious leaders, to condemn attacks against innocent people during the holy month of Ramadan.
“Stop making an ideology [supposedly based on] the public interest an excuse [for these crimes], because the perpetrators [of attacks] in the past decade have attacked innocent people in actions that only serve their own interests,” he said.
He said National Council for Peace and Order chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha was worried about the situation and had instructed the front command to increase and strictly implement security measures as well as quickly provide assistance and remedial measures to those affected.
He said the home-made bomb was placed in a Mazda pickup truck with fake licence plates and the vehicle was found to have been stolen from Apiwat Janthaem in Nong Chik on June 1.
CCTV footage showed that the three suspects had fled in a Yala-Don Yang-Hat Yai public transport van, which had been parked in the same spot as the bomb vehicle, about 15 minutes before the device detonated at around 4.40pm.
Pramote said the van, which had been stolen from Yala’s Muang district on Friday morning, was later located in an area adjacent to Yala’s Than To district.
Police summoned the van driver, who was found tied up, and collected evidence from the van.
Yala Governor Dechrat Simsiri yesterday visited Betong to enquire about the investigation and urged the Army, police and territorial defence officers to integrate their work to solve the unrest and prevent it from re-occurring.
Hours after the car bomb, Samri Saki, 26, was wounded in Yala’s Muang district at around 10pm on Friday after suspected insurgents fired an M79 grenade at a car that was taking police to investigate the van robbery. The grenade missed the car, wounding Samri.
In related news, two soldiers were wounded in a roadside bomb attack in tambon Samakkhi in Narathiwat’s Rusoh district at around 10.30pm on Friday.
Sergeant Wichai Sukkamnerd and Private Saksit Saengsri, who sustained shrapnel in the leg and ear, were part of a patrol team providing security to the public during Ramadan.
Police suspect the attack was part of the ongoing unrest in the deep South.