3 die as bomb rips through navy base

Three servicemen, including a senior bomb disposal expert, were killed when a bomb they were inspecting exploded inside a Narathiwat naval base Monday.

  • Published: 23/04/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Emergency crews rushed this badly maimed survivor of the bomb blast to hospital in Narathiwat. Three men died in the explosion. (Bangkok Post photo)

An explosives team had previously worked to disarm the bomb and had declared it safe to handle.

Investigators now believe the bomb was rigged with multiple trigger mechanisms, a tactic which they say is highly unusual for southern insurgents. Six other military personnel were wounded in the blast.

Most of the casualties were members of the Marine Corps' Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team based in Narathiwat.

The 25kg booby-trapped bomb, packed inside a gas cylinder, was found underneath a Malay-language propaganda sign which reads, "Peace will not come if talks are not held with the real owners". (Photos by Abdulloh Benjakat)

The 25-kilogramme bomb, which had been placed inside a gas cylinder, ripped through the unit's working area beside the marines' Special Taskforce building.

Two of the marines died at the scene, while an air force officer died on the way to hospital.

The dead were named as three navy personnel _ Lt JG Chaisit Techasawangwong, chief of the EOD team, CPO 1st Class Rewat Khongnak and CPO 1st Class Thassanai Chomphuthawip.

Lt JG Chaisit had only been sent to the South a month ago.

The bomb was originally found planted near a bridge on Phetkasem Road in Ban Champako Moo 1, Bacho district Monday.

Security officers discovered the device as they were removing anti-peace talks banners which had been been hung up in several locations in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces.

The navy's EOD team was called to defuse the bomb. They cut the electrical circuit inside the home-made device, and declared it disarmed.

The bomb was then taken back to base for further examination, where it later detonated.

Investigators said the gas cylinder bomb was made with multiple trigger mechanisms.

The EOD team managed to disarm the first sensor, but there was another one inside the bomb which triggered the explosion.

Navy commander Adm Surasak Rounroengrom described the double-circuit bomb as "unexpected".

The explosion also damaged four vehicles and left military equipment destroyed.

Another bomb went off in Narathiwat's Ban Buwe Rangae district Monday. The device had also been placed near an anti-peace talks banner.

Lt Kraisak Rotkanthuk, who was removing the banner when the bomb went off, suffered a leg wound.

The two spots where the bombs were planted were among 64 locations in 11 districts of Narathiwat where anti-peace talks banners were raised Monday.

Insurgents had placed the bombs there to kill soldiers who went in to remove the banners, Narathiwat police chief Pol Col Kritsada Kaeochandi said.

In Yala, 16 similar banners were found in six districts.

Officers, including EOD experts, sealed off the areas to prevent insurgent attacks.

The banners were also raised across parts of Pattani.

Two were hung on a pedestrian bridge on a section of Road No.42, linking Pattani and Narathiwat.

A suspicious box was found nearby, but contained only sand.

The banners, written in Malay, read: "Peace will not occur if talks are not held with the real owners."

According to Hara Shintaro, a Japanese lecturer who teaches Malay in Pattani, he said the message on the banner should be `Kedamaian tak akan lahir selama "pertuanan" tidak diakui' which should be translated as "Peace will not occur as long as the ownership isn't acknowledged".

National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut, who is leading the government's peace talks delegation, said the message may imply that separatists who have not yet joined the talks want to take part in the process.

Lt Gen Paradorn said the government intends to talk to all groups. Any group interested in joining the peace efforts would be welcome, he said.

The NSC is preparing for the next round of talks scheduled for Monday. The council hopes the second round of talks will make it clearer which groups want to take part in the peace process.

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said the talks will help authorities differentiate between the groups which agree or disagree with the attempt to end the southern violence.

Meanwhile, five people, including two children, were injured Monday in attacks believed to have been carried out by insurgents, police said.

Aduean Dolo, 42, his seven-year-old son Asuwan and a nine-year-old girl named Suchada were wounded by a bomb blast as Mr Aduean was driving a pickup truck near a bridge in Ban Lubokayo Moo 5 in Narathiwat's Rangae district, officers said.

Investigators said the home-made bomb was hidden inside a gas container and was most likely intended to hit a passing military convoy.

In Pattani's Khok Pho district, Napharat Sani, 45, and her sister Wanphen Inthongkaeo, 43, were shot in a drive-by attack as they were riding a motorcycle, police said.

Both are being treated at Mae Lan Hospital.

The banners, written in Malay, read: ‘Peace will not come if talks are not held with the real owners.’ The banners were found at several spots in the restive southernmost provinces. ABDULLOH BENJAKAT

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