Cops seek 2 suspects in car bombing

Cops seek 2 suspects in car bombing

Narathiwat attack killed one officer

Police are ramping up their efforts to track down at least two people who they believe were behind Tuesday's car bomb attack at a block of police flats in Narathiwat's Muang district, which claimed the life of one officer and injured 45 other people.

An officer living at the flats told investigators that Pol Capt Suthirak Panniya -- the deputy traffic police inspector killed in the blast -- saw the person who dropped off the pickup truck at the location.

The officer, whom investigators are treating as a witness, said that upon noticing something was amiss, Pol Capt Suthirak shouted at the man, who immediately fled the scene.

Soon after, the witness said, the bomb in the truck exploded, killing Pol Capt Suthirak, who was about to chase the suspect.

Investigators are reviewing CCTV footage from around the scene of the blast.

Some clips showed a person waiting on a motorcycle nearby, who the police believe might be an accomplice.

The Isuzu D-Max pickup truck used in the attack, with the licence plate "Ko Kho" 6961 and registered in Trang, was found to have been owned by Fatiya Pradu, a 32-year-old female resident of Yaring district in neighbouring Pattani, said a source.

This woman had previously been given a traffic ticket by the highway police in Narathiwat's Muang district for driving without a licence, said the source, who noted the police report said Ms Fatiya was accompanied by a male passenger and the fine has yet to be paid.

The police will question her to establish any possible link to the attack.

Separately, Pol Maj Gen Prapphon Mimongkon, acting commissioner of Narathiwat police, said officers and families who had to be evacuated from the flats are staying at temporary shelters, including a local sports stadium.

National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, who yesterday visited the scene of the blast, said he had ordered a posthumous seven-level salary hike for Pol Capt Suthirak and requested a police general title for him. Initially, the victim's family will receive at least 3.77 million baht, he said.

Violence in the deep South looks on the rise as the number of attacks has almost exceeded last year's figure, said Asst Prof Srisompob Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch.

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