Explosion rocks another rubber estate

Explosion rocks another rubber estate

Police advise residents to remain vigilant

A ranger shows where a carefully hidden land mine exploded and severely wounded the owner of a small rubber plantation in Yala province. (Photo by Maluding Deeto)
A ranger shows where a carefully hidden land mine exploded and severely wounded the owner of a small rubber plantation in Yala province. (Photo by Maluding Deeto)

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda on Thursday ordered local police to speed up their investigation into a series of explosions at rubber plantations in Yala to bring those responsible to justice.

Pol Gen Chakthip issued the order after a rubber tapper was seriously wounded by the latest explosive device, a land mine, on while working in Muang district of Yala early Thursday morning.

Jarin Chanluek, 47, was the fifth victim in eight days of a bomb buried in a rubber plantation in the southern province since June 28. The four other victims are three men and a woman.

The first attack took place on June 28, when Nipawan Plodkaenthong, 34, was injured in an explosion inside a rubber plantation in Yaha district. Two days later, Chutiphon Namwong, 47, was also injured in an incident inside a rubber plantation in Muang district.

The third attack was carried out on Monday seriously injuring Suthin Haewkhunthod, 60, in Krong Pinang district, while the fourth victim was wounded in a separate attack in Bannang Sata district on Wednesday.

Talking about these series of attacks targeting civilians working in a rubber plantation, Pol Gen Chakthip expressed concerns Thursday over an emerging pattern of violence in the deep South.

Pol Gen Chakthip has asked local police investigating the five attacks to speed up their efforts to resolve the cases to boost public confidence in security in the southern border areas, said Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen, deputy spokesman for the Royal Thai Police.

In the latest attack, the target was believed to be innocent workers and possibly the owner of the plantation, said Pol Col Kritsana.

Pol Gen Chakthip also stressed that security be strengthened, particularly at crowded places, and key tourist attractions, said Pol Col Kritsana.

Mr Jarin was working at a plantation in tambon Yupho when he stepped on the mine, said Pol Capt Pattana Kaenkaew, investigation chief at Muang police station.

The incident was reported to police about 3am.

The tapper sustained injuries to his face, eyes, his right arm, his right leg, and right foot and was rushed to Yala Regional Hospital.

A team of police, soldiers and bomb disposal officers who inspected the scene found pieces of metal, wires, and bomb materials scattered over the area.

According to police investigators, Mr Jarin went into the plantation around 1.45am to tap latex as usual at which point he noticed freshly overturned soil near one of the rubber trees.

Suspicious of this unusual sight, he used his hands to see what was underneath, at which point the bomb, weighing around 1kg exploded.

Authorities blamed separatist insurgents, saying they were trying to instil fear in people working at rubber plantations.

Also on Thursday, 4th Army Commander Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich claimed that the attacks are linked to a local "influential family", and not to any insurgent movement.

Local residents have been advised to be vigilant and alert the police if they spot anything suspicious on their plantations.

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