Police, army track bombers' escape

Police, army track bombers' escape

Two suspects clad in hijab, fled to Pattani

Security forces believe the Chana bombers headed to Pattani province along the Na Thawi Road. (File photo by Waedao Harai)
Security forces believe the Chana bombers headed to Pattani province along the Na Thawi Road. (File photo by Waedao Harai)

Authorities believe two men linked to the deadly blast in Songkhla on Monday which killed a police officer and a four-year-old boy have fled to Pattani province.

An investigation team on Wednesday examined security camera footage and found the two suspects believed to have masterminded the attack used Chana-Na Thawi Road heading to Asia Road to escape to Pattani after the blast.

However, they disappeared at the border of Chana and Thepha districts. Police suspected they used a shortcut to Pattani.

CCTV footage at the scene showed the suspects were dressed in female Muslim outfits.

A manhunt was launched after the bomb went off outside Chana railway station in tambon Ban Na of Chana district on Monday night, leaving the officer and child dead, and eight people injured.

The dead officer was identified as Pol Capt Yodchay Boonsong, attached to Chana police station.

Among the injured were Pol Sen Sgt Maj Amnart Chalipol, Pol Capt Yodchay's colleague, and two children.

An initial investigation found an improvised explosive device weighing about 15-20kg was hidden in a motorcycle parked in front of the station. The vehicle was a black Honda Wave 110i which was reported stolen at Huai Pling police station in Thepha district in December last year.

The bomb was detonated by a radio communication device while the officers were passing by while on a regular patrol of the car park.

The investigation team said the first suspect in a black full-length hijab parked the motorcycle bomb next to a pickup truck of the two officers before fleeing the scene on another bike ridden by the man in a blue hijab outfit, according to security camera footage at the station.

Authorities said the suspects may have discarded the outfits as they made their escape.

Police suspect the bomb was detonated by a third insurgent who monitored both officers from one of the vehicles in the car park. The bomb went off just as both policemen were about to get in the pickup truck.

An inspection was also conducted on vehicles parked at the scene to track down the suspect who detonated the bomb.

The insurgent suspects were believed to be active in Pattani's Nong Chik district as the motorcycle used in the blast carried a Pattani licence plate belonging to another motorcycle stolen in Pattani.

The investigation also found Mariam Lehsoh, a Muslim woman who lives in Malaysia, posted a warning on her Facebook page about 10pm the night before the deadly attack. She warned villagers in Chana district about the blast.

According to a security source, the explosion could be the work of Sainumase Sulongsen, a key figure of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) southern insurgency network, who has been linked to several attacks in Songkhla before. His wife also lived in Chana district.

Police suspected the bomb was made by associates of Maruding Sama who is wanted by authorities for alleged links to several car and motorcycle bombings in the deep South.

Meanwhile, officials have carried out repairs to Chana railway station where the facade was damaged by the blast while the station remained bustling with hundreds of passengers Wednesday.

Provincial Police Region 9 commander Weerapong Chuanpakdee has told authorities to intensify security measures in Songkhla's four districts connected to the three southern border provinces.

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