4 bomb blasts wreak havoc in Pattani city
Coordinated attacks damage shops, cars
Four explosions shook Muang district of Pattani early Thursday, causing extensive damage to vehicles and shophouses, police said.
The bomb attacks appeared to be coordinated, occurring almost at the same time, about 2am Thursday.
The first bomb went off outside Thanasin vehicle rental company at a five-storey shophouse on Nong Chik Road near Pattani Vocational College.
The blast damaged the shop front as well as 42 motorcycles and three cars parked nearby.
The second bomb went off 20 metres away at a showroom of Pattani Charoen Trading Co, an Isuzu dealership. The explosion shattered windows and damaged two new vehicles in the showroom.
The force of the blast also smashed the windows of at least 20 nearby shops. An ATM belonging to Krung Thai Bank's Charoen Prasert branch was also partially damaged. The third bomb detonated outside beverage company Por Kitcharoen Karnsura on Yarang Road in tambon Jabang Tikor. The front door of the company and beverage stocks were destroyed.
At least three cars were riddled with holes from flying shrapnel. A water pipe was also ruptured.
The fourth bomb attack was reported on the outskirts of the city on Bana-Laem Nok Road in tambon Bana.
The explosion caused five telegraph poles to collapse. One collapsed pole caused the other four to fall, according to officials.
One of them fell on a parked pickup truck.
Authorities suspected the attacks were carried out by the same group.
The first, second and third explosions happened in a downtown area while the fourth was further away from the commercial heart of the district.
Witnesses said the bombs were planted separately by two men on motorcycles. In the first, second and third explosions, a bomb was packed in a gas cylinder weighing about 20-25kg.
In the fourth explosion, the device was placed in a pipe and strapped to a telegraph pole.
The explosions were followed by a power blackout in the area. The power was restored after 30 minutes.
The bombs could have been retaliation for the killings of four suspected militants in a clash with security officers in Thung Yang Daeng district on March 25, police said.
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High-level officials, led by Pattani governor Weerapong Kaewsuwa, inspected the blast scenes. The governor said local authorities are helping residents affected by the explosions.
A security source said intelligence reports had warned of possible bomb attacks at a department store and busy markets in the municipality, prompting tighter security.
Meanwhile, two unidentified men were killed by gunmen in Narathiwat's Rangae district, also on Thursday morning, police said.
Their bodies were found with two motorcycles on a road to Ban Hae village in tambon Bongo.
According to witnesses, the men left the village to go hunting in a nearby forest early in the morning.
They were returning home with a boar they had shot when they were attacked. Both of them were shot and died on the spot. Police are investigating.