Three monks, three policemen and three local residents were slightly wounded after a homemade bomb went off in front of a laundry on Charoen Pradit Road in Pattani's Muang district on Monday morning.
The monks from Wat Khajorn Pracharam, guarded by three policemen, were collecting alms when the three-kilogram bomb, hidden under a flowerpot near Nuch Laundry Shop was detonated by remote control and exploded when the group was about five metres away, said Muang Pattani Police Station Superintendent Pol Col Somporn Meesuk.
The wounded - Phra Jin Panichkul, 52, Phra Yongyuth Khaoborisut, 35, Phra Worapong Sutthipong, 54, Pol Cpl Thanom Khonwai, 29, Pol Cpl Kampanart Malawan, 28, Pol Cpl Prakarn Chedipeng, 26, as well as civilians Chat Suk-ubol, 72, Chid Suk-ubol, 70 and Yeun Sukhonkhet, 72 - were rushed to Pattani hospital. Police suspected the bomb was laid by insurgents with the aim of creating chaos in the region.
Pattani Deputy Governor Lertkiat Wongphopan later commented that the attack on monks and monk-protection officers reflected the insurgents’ intention to attack symbolic targets and to discredit the Thai security force, as the incident took place on the route included in the security plan. They also wished to create disunity in this multi-culture society and attract public attention.
In neighbouring Yala province, an explosion took place in a shack inside a banana plantation in Tambon Wang Phraya, Raman district, at 10.45am on Monday morning. Police found the body of Yako Ya-ngo, 55, in front of the shack. Nearby was a 70cm-deep 80cm-wide hole from the five-kilogram bomb impact and pieces of the metal box, electric wiring and the battery. The investigation revealed that Yako, a security volunteer for Raman district, was inspecting his banana plantation when he stepped on the bomb and detonated it. As Yako had been shot at twice before, police suspect southern insurgents were behind the attack, possibly the group led by suspected insurgent Kama Chaichana, which operates in the district and is wanted in connection with several national security cases.