Friday, August 22, 2008

Six bomb blast suspects held

Six bomb blast suspects held

Injured rescue worker dies in hospital


NARATHIWAT : Police yesterday detained six people suspected of involvement in two bomb explosions in Sungai Kolok district on Thursday which left two people dead.

Pol Col Somphong Chingduang, deputy provincial police chief, said police had traced the suspects from closed-circuit camera footage in the area of the blasts and then detained them for interrogation.

On Thursday, two bombs exploded at a restaurant in Sungai Kolok, killing Chalee Boonsawat, a reporter for Thai Rath daily newspaper, and injuring 33 other people.

One of the injured victims died in hospital yesterday.

Chakrit Chalatthanakit, a rescue worker, was pronounced dead after succumbing to his wounds.

The first bomb was hidden in a parked motorcycle and the other in a car parked about 50 metres away.

Pol Col Prapun Meemongkol, superintendent of the district police station, and Phadung Wannaluck, a reporter for Modern Nine television station, were among the wounded.

Narathiwat deputy governor Nipol Narapitakkul said all agencies concerned were summoned to a security meeting yesterday.

He said the footage obtained from surveillance cameras would help track down the bombers.

Repair work on electricity utilities also got under way after they were damaged by insurgents at the time of the blasts.

The town was left with no power throughout the night.

In the wake of the explosions, assistant police chief Pol Lt-Gen Adul Saengsingkaew ordered police forces in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and four districts of Songkhla to beef up security.

Pol Maj-Gen Pongsak Nakvijit, the provincial police chief, said violent attacks increased in frequency every year before September because it was deemed a holy month as the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan began.

He added that investigators had possible leads on the bombers' identities, but could not give any details.

An intelligence source said the explosions were the work of rebels from the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) group operating in Sungai Padi and Sungai Kolok districts and on the Thai-Malaysian border.

The group was controlled by two core leaders, Aziz Zo and Zahawuddin Zo.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda said Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej planned to visit the restive deep South following the bomb blasts.

However, Gen Anupong had a prior engagement, so the trip had to be postponed.

The Confederation of Thai Journalists (CTJ), the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the Broadcasting Journalists Association (BJA) offered their condolences to Chalee's family and gave moral support to Mr Phadung in a statement yesterday.

The statement said the life of South-based reporters hung in the balance, so they were advised to be extra cautious.

Chalee deserved great praise for his commitment to journalism, it said.

Gen Chettha Thanajaro, leader of the Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana party, remains undeterred in his commitment to bringing peace to the deep South through private dialogue with the militant networks.

The former army chief came under fire after the ceasefire announcement by the Thailand United Southern Underground (Tusu) aired on the army-run Channel 5 television on July 17 failed to achieve any results.

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