Authorities have tightened security in Hat Yai and Sadao districts of Songkhla following a series of bomb and shooting attacks along rail routes in the three southernmost provinces.
The attacks took place almost simultaneously at six locations in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat around 8pm on Friday. No casualties were reported in any of the incidents.
The incidents come during the final week of the holy month of Ramadan, which is scheduled to end on Thursday evening. They unfolded as follows:
- A bomb exploded on a bridge over a railway track in tambon Sateng Nok in Muang district of Yala.
- Another attack occurred at an outpost of a special operations unit in Rueso district of Narathiwat. This prompted an exchange of gunfire between security forces and the gunmen.
- Two men on a motorcycle opened fire on a special operations unit outpost at Wat Chang railway station in tambon Thung Phla of Khok Pho district of Pattani.
- Assailants opened fire on police officers at the Khok Pho railway station in Khok Pho.
- A pipe bomb was thrown into a paramilitary ranger outpost in tambon Yata in Raman district of Yala.
- Another shooting took place in tambon Chuap in Cho Airong district of Narathiwat, which resulted in an exchange of gunfire with a special police operations unit based at the Cho Airong railway station.
Concerned that the unrest could affect tourist areas in nearby Songkhla, security agencies in the province have intensified protocols to ensure safety, particularly in economic and tourist zones in Sadao and Hat Yai districts, a source said on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Col Thanitpon Hongvilai, commander of the 5th infantry regiment and its Thep Satri special task force, inspected the border near Malaysia, while teams of soldiers, police and administrative officials set up checkpoints on Kanchanavanich Road, which connects Sadao and Hat Yai districts.
Army and border police forces responsible for the Thai-Malaysia border area have also been deployed to suppress any illegal entry via natural channels.
Police and officials will also patrol along rail routes from Hat Yai to Padang Besar, a border town in Sadao district of Songkhla, to ensure safety before resuming train operations, said a source.
Traces of a shooting attack at one of the six locations in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. There were no casualties reported in the string of attacks. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)