April 09, 2014 00:00 By Nakarin Chinworakomon,
One person's face 'clearly visible in cctv image'; same group said to be behind all
POLICE ARE on a hunt for a group suspected in bombing attacks that caused several casualties and massive damage in Yala last weekend. These suspects have been seen in images captured by closed-circuit TV cameras.
“We believe one group of attackers is responsible for the recent violence,” Yala police chief Maj-General Songkiat Wathakul said yesterday, refusing to elaborate.
On Sunday, a pickup truck stuffed with about 100 kilograms of explosives created a big blast in front of a furniture shop on Siroros Road in Yala’s Muang district, killing one person and injuring 28 others. A bomb inside a motorcycle with a sidecar also exploded on the same road that day.
Then on Monday, several other bombs went off in Yala causing damage estimated at well over Bt100 million.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official in the investigation team said at least four people had played a part in the recent bomb attacks.
“We could clearly see the face of one suspect,” the official said, adding that the suspects were seen arriving at the scene in a pickup and two motorcycles, including the one with a sidecar.
National Security Council (NSC) chief Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut said April had usually been a violent month in past years as it marked the anniversary of the establishment of insurgent group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) among other key incidents.
However, he believed that the change in top officials put in charge of suppressing unrest in the deep South was also a factor.
The region comes under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Army Area, which has just got a new chief.
Paradorn, who has attended several rounds of negotiations with the BRN, is also leaving the helm of the NSC. The insurgents want to know if the new NSC chief will adopt the same approach as he did, he said.
Deep South Watch director Assistant Professor Srisompob Jitpiromsri shared Paradorn’s views, saying violent attacks usually rose in April, May and June every year and that the disruption of peace talks could also play a role. Another key factor, he said, was that this year marked the 10th anniversary of the resurgence of violence in the deep South.
“Violence has been growing every year,” he pointed out.
In the wake of bombing attacks in Yala, Pattani City Municipality Mayor Pitak Korkiatpitak urged residents not to leave anything, be it a stall, a bench or other items, unattended outside their homes to cut down on the risk of hidden bombs.
“If you have shelves in your shops, check them regularly. If you notice any suspicious vehicle, call 191, 199, 1341 or 1881 to alert officials,” he said.