Ramadan bombers linked to 2014 blasts

Ramadan bombers linked to 2014 blasts

Multiple blasts in Narathiwat were likely carried out by the same group that wreaked havoc in the area a year ago, according to police.

The incidents were among deadly explosions which left six dead and 11 wounded before dawn across Narathiwat and Songkhla.

Pol Col Kongat Suwankam, superintendent of Sungai Kolok police, said seven attacks in Sungai Kolok district were carried out by one group of assailants.

The group is thought to be the same one that bombed the heart of the district last year, he said, referring to 10 attacks last May which left one dead and nine injured.

Police did not go into detail on the motive behind the attacks or how they were connected.

Pol Col Kongat said officers are reviewing CCTV footage near the blast sites to try to identify suspects, some of whom are thought to be involved in the drugs trade.

In the first attacks, firecrackers were thrown into the Jenny Kitchen and Pat Grill restaurants on Luk Sua Nusorn Road, said Col Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 Forward Command. The incidents took place between 7pm and 7.30pm. No one was injured. Another blast was detonated in front of the Top Asia Hotel on Soi Pracha Vivat 2 about the same time, wounding eight people. Shortly after midnight, fires believed to have been caused by explosions broke out in three places — a car parts shop on Pracha Vivat Road, a construction materials shop on Pracha Vivat Soi 1 and the Saeng Charoen wholesale store behind Genting Market. Three people died in the Saeng Charoen blaze.

According to security sources, CCTV camera footage captured two men in black jackets stopping their motorcycle in front of Jenny Kitchen shortly before 7pm. The pillion rider threw an explosive device into the restaurant before they fled. Officers are trying to identify the attackers by comparing the footage to security records.

A motorcycle bomb meanwhile rocked tambon Padang Besar in Songkhla’s Sadao district at 9pm on Friday. The blast took place in front of Krok Thong karaoke shop in Padang Besar municipality, killing three people, including the 40-year-old shop owner, Nathisa Arnam. Three others were wounded.

According to investigators, the Honda Wave used in the bombing was stolen from Mae Laen district in Pattani in May last year and used to pick up a bomber behind a blast in Hat Yai.

Police in Songkhla believe the assailants were also responsible for the Koh Samui car bomb in April and previous explosions in Yala’s Betong district, and Songkhla’s Sadao and Hat Yai districts.

Security officers said the group is terrorising zones of economic importance in the southern border provinces.

Col Pramote said forces have been ordered to increase security in economic zones, without disrupting the religious activities of residents, he said.

Eight religious organisations in the far South on Saturday joined together to denounce violence in the area. They called on the public to reject violence because it not only harms people and their property, but disturbs Ramadan.

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