A bomb exploded as a train transporting agricultural products approached a railway station in Narathiwat early Saturday afternoon. Gunshots were fired at one carriage, but nobody was hurt. The train was damaged.
The attack occurred at 12.25pm when train No 986 on the Sungai Kolok-Bangkok route was about one kilometre away from the Tan Yong Mat station in Rangae district, Thai media reported.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) was alerted around 12.40pm that an unknown number of assailants had planted a homemade bomb on the tracks between the Ban Pha Pai and Tan Yong Mat stations, said Ekkarat Sri-arayayangpong, director of the SRT’s public relations centre.
Shortly after the bomb went off, gunshots were fired at the fifth carriage of the train, where SRT staff were sitting. Luckily, all of them escaped unhurt. The SRT is awaiting further information from investigators, Mr Ekkarat said.
The repurposed passenger train had departed Sungai Kolok on Saturday to transport fruit, agricultural products and parcels from the deep South to Bangkok as part of measures to alleviate the hardship of people affected by travel restrictions and Covid-19 control measures.
The special cargo service, intended to help farmers and others during the harvest season, began on Thursday and is scheduled to operate until Oct 1.
Mr Ekkarat said the service would continue, but the operations of trains 985 and 986 would be shifted to the Bangkok-Yala-Bangkok route from Bangkok-Sungai Kolok-Bangkok.
The SRT Workers’ Union condemned the train attack saying it not only damageed a train but would inflict more economic wounds on local residents and farmers.
In a statement issued by its Hat Yai branch, the union called on security agencies to increase safety measures on trains and rail routes to improve confidence among people and train staff.
In a related development, a local leader was seriously injured in a bomb attack near a mosque in Muang district of Yala on Saturday.
The bomb went off at 10.42am when a pickup truck arrived at the entrance of the mosque in tambon Sateng, said police.
The driver, identified later as Maeyae Saeloh, 59, kamnan of tambon Samakki in Ruesord district of Narathiwat, was seriously injured. He was rushed to Yala Hospital.
A pickup truck burns after a bomb went off at the entrance of a mosque in Muang district of Yala on Saturday. The driver, a local leader from Narathiwat, was badly injured. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)
A bullet hole is seen in the carriage of a train transporting agricultural products from the South to Bangkok following an attack in Narathiwat on Saturday. (Photo: @thaisrut Facebook page)