Songkhla on alert following Pattani attacks

national August 01, 2012 00:00

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Songkhla tightened security on Wednesday following a bomb car attack in downtown Pattani last night. Songkhla governor Krissada Boonrat said he has alerted authorities that insurgents may step up attacks across the border in neighbouring Songkhla.


From today, he said, agencies are ordered to integrate their work and review their safeguards to tighten any loopholes so as to strengthen security and prevent any insurgency attacks.
High-ranking security officials, police and military will work together, he said and all department stores are being asked to check their safety measures including fire exits, extinguishers and fire alarms to make sure that they are intact and ready to work around the clock.
They were also told to keep an eye on suspicious looking persons and vehicles. Songkhla shares borders with Pattani and Yala, which are usually targets of attacks.
The governor said he did not want the public to panic but they have to be alert to the situation. Songkhla’s Hat Yai district was the victim of a car bomb attack late March, which killing Thais and foreigners.
The car bomb attack at CS Pattani Hotel and adjacent electric power transmission station in Pattani’s Muang district on Tuesday night caused a blackout in large areas of downtown and a fire at the hotel, but no deaths were reported.
The explosion occurred at about 7pm behind the hotel. Firefighters rushed to stop the blaze and were able to bring the fire under control, although it had reached the hotel’s upper floors. 
Three people were reported slightly wounded by the car bomb.
Investigators found the remains of a destroyed pickup truck with Bangkok license plates behind the hotel. It was reported stolen in Pattani in June when the driver and two others delivering fresh chicken meat from Songkhla were killed.
The pickup truck was parked on Charoen Pradit Road, Soi 5, behind the hotel. Police found a 50kg gas cylinder used by the bombers as a container for the explosives in the home-made bomb, which was placed in the truck.
Fragments of a communications radio were found at the scene, leading the authorities to believe that the bomb may have been triggered by radio signal.
Surveillance cameras in the area are being checked for images of the bombers.
More than 80 hotel rooms were damaged and the kitchen was also affected by the explosion. Hotel workers have begun to clean up the premises.


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