By The Nation
ALL THREE suspects arrested in connection with Tuesday’s car-bomb attack in Songkhla have denied any wrongdoing.
The blast injured eight border patrol police members, including five women. The pickup used for the explosion was also found to have been stolen from a retiree, who was found dead inside his home in Songkhla province on Tuesday.
“Following the explosion, we dispatched officials to suspicious areas along the shared borders of Songkhla’s Saba Yoi and Thepha districts and Pattani’s Nong Chik district. We have detained three suspects,” Colonel Pramote Prom-in said yesterday in his capacity as the spokesman for the Forward Command of the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4.
According to him, all three suspects have been detained at military camps and are being grilled, but they have so far denied any involvement in the blast.
Another source said that it was very likely that more than 10 suspects were involved in Tuesday’s attack, in which a bomb placed in a pickup truck exploded at about 5.50am on a rural road near a knockdown structure used by border patrol police.
“There were two teams for the plot,” the source said. “The first killed a man and took his vehicle. The other one turned the vehicle into a car bomb.”
The deceased was identified as Amata Samotantawee, 62, a resident of Saba Yoi district.
The source added that the teams must have been very familiar with local routes, because the vehicle used had not been captured by CCTV cameras at any point.
“Apparently, they used secondary routes to avoid detection,” the source said.
The injured border patrol police members are now in a safe condition.
“They are not demoralised. They intend to continue working in the deep South,” Pornsak said.
They were visited at Yala Police Hospital by four senior officers – Fourth Region Army’s chief Lt-General Pornsak Poonsawat, Provincial Police Region 9 commissioner Pol Lt-General Ronnasilp Phusara, Yala police chief Pol Maj-General Krissda Kaewchandee and Border Patrol Police Region 4 chief Pol Maj-General Pairoj Thandham.
Thailand’s southernmost region has been struggling with unrest for more than a decade, during which bloody incidents have occurred at times almost on a daily basis. Thousands of lives have been lost.
Pol Captain Sineenart Kongput, one of the victims injured by this latest blast, said she had lost her father and younger brother to violence.
“They were shot dead at the mouth of the soi where we lived in 2012,” she recounted.
She said her morale was shaken at one point but she had resolved to stay strong and to do good deeds in dedication to her father.
Now, she also feels grateful for the outpouring of support to her.
“Thank you for sending moral support and love. My team and I will work to the best of our abilities after we are discharged from the hospital,” she said.