Bomb blast wounds 8 soldiers

Pracha vows security boost for Ramadan

Eight soldiers were wounded Monday in an explosion while providing security for teachers in Pattani's Mayo district, police said.

The troops, attached to Infantry Company 15331 of Pattani Taskforce 25, were travelling in an army truck along a road passing Ban Rawo in tambon Krawa when the bomb went off.

The 30-kilogramme bomb, packed in a cooking gas cylinder, was planted underneath the road surface. It was detonated as the truck passed.

The front part of the truck was wrecked by the explosion.

The eight wounded soldiers were identified as Sgt Adipong Rakwong, the driver, Sgt Tawat Polpiboon, Pvt Chanchai Ratchapol, Pvt Arthit Rathprapan, Pvt Ekasith Niamthaen, Pvt Noppadol Chaisiri, Pvt Areep Song-anong and Pvt Tossapol Samnakpol.

The injured were admitted to Mayo Hospital.

Sgt Adipong, who sustained the most serious injury, was referred to Pattani Hospital. Another six soldiers following the truck on foot were unhurt.

Security is being stepped up in the deep South ahead of Ramadan, Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok said.

While insisting that violence is unlikely to worsen during the fasting month, he said extra precautions are being taken to keep the public safe.

The Office of the Chularatchamontri announced Wednesday as the first day of the holy fasting month.

Ahmad Somboon Bualuang, director of the Pattani-based Thailand Centre for Muslim and Democratic Development, called on security authorities not to "overdo" restrictive measures during Ramadan. He urged the authorities to be sensitive to the Muslim way of life and said security measures should not affect Muslim people who have to leave home to perform religious activities.

"Authorities must adopt proper measures. They must not be so strict that they obstruct Muslims from performing their religious obligations," he said.

Related search: Thailand, south, Ramadan, improvised explosive, bomb