Army regrets five civilian deaths in bomb explosions

Army regrets five civilian deaths in bomb explosions

The army had declared a training field in Sukhothai off-limits to outsiders before two bombs collected by some residents went off and killed five people in Sukhothai and neigbhouring Tak on Friday. (Photo by Assawin Pinitwong)
The army had declared a training field in Sukhothai off-limits to outsiders before two bombs collected by some residents went off and killed five people in Sukhothai and neigbhouring Tak on Friday. (Photo by Assawin Pinitwong)

The army has expressed regret over the deaths of five civilians and injuries to two others after bombs they reportedly collected from a military tactical training field in Sukhothai exploded.

Army spokesman Winthai Suvaree said on Saturday the tactical training field in Ban Dan Lai Hoi district of Sukhothai had earlier been declared a danger zone and the military had repeatedly warned local residents to stay away from the area. However, the warnings went unheeded by some and resulted in two separate tragedies that claimed five lives.

In the first incident, a man in Sukhothai was killed when an unexploded bomb that he apparently was trying to retrieve from the training site went off at about 3.30pm on Friday, said the army spokesman.

Two hours later, at a house in tambon Pong Daeng in Muang district of Tak, adjacent to the training zone, a bomb that a resident was believed to have collected from the same training site exploded. The blast killed four people and injured two others. All were family members.

Col Winthai said the army regretted the deaths and injuries. The Third Army has sent a military unit to provide humanitarian assistance to the families of the dead and injured.    

To prevent a recurrence of the incidents, the Third Army plans to intensify its public relations programme and ask residents who might have innocently collected unexploded ordnance from training fields to return it. No charges would be laid, said Col Winthai.

Explosive Ordinance Disposal officers will also be sent to destroy unexploded bombs left in the area during military training exercises that took place between March 19 and 23

In the first blast, the dead victim was identified as Sornchai Lerkmok, a resident of tambon Talingchan in Ban Dan Lai Hoi district of Sukhothai. 

In the second blast, the four victims, including two women and two boys, and the injured man and woman, were all members of the Ngiew-peng family of tambon Pong Daeng in Tak province.


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