Blasts at Pattani petrol stations made to discredit govt: Army Area 4


Army Area 4 has launched a manhunt for four insurgents who carried out two bomb attacks at two petrol stations in Pattani on Tuesday night in what is believed to be an attempt to discredit the government ahead of the Apec Summit this week.

The almost simultaneous attacks occurred at about 8pm at a PTT station on Highway 42 near the Pattani bus terminal in Tambon Bana, Muang district, and a PT station on the same highway in Tambon Piya Murang in Yaring district.

A worker at the PT station was slightly injured without any life-threatening wounds and complained of a ringing in the ears.

The fires caused by the two explosions were put out by firefighters about half an hour later. Blasts at Pattani petrol stations made to discredit govt: Army Area 4

Witnesses told police two assailants arrived on a motorcycle at the PT station and the pillion rider placed a small gas cylinder in the middle of the station near the cashier’s booth.

One of them fired into the air and at an oil dispenser and the two fled the scene before the gas cylinder exploded about two minutes later, causing a fire.

At the PTT station, the authorities found three dispensers were damaged by an explosion and the subsequent fire. Bomb shrapnel also slightly damaged a convenience store, a food shop and other shops inside the station. Blasts at Pattani petrol stations made to discredit govt: Army Area 4

Army Area 4 deputy commander Maj-General Pramote Prom-in and Pattani Taskforce commander Maj-General Kachornsak Inthong checked the two spots on Wednesday morning.

After the inspection, Pramote told reporters the two attacks had a similar pattern. In each, two assailants arrived on a motorcycle at almost the same time, planted a homemade bomb and fired gunshots to intimidate station staff before they fled and the bombs exploded.

Pramote said the southern Army has stepped up security in the province and deployed units to protect all vulnerable spots, especially petrol stations.

Blasts at Pattani petrol stations made to discredit govt: Army Area 4 “We believe the assailants want to damage the economy, hoping to discredit the government before Thailand hosts the Apec summit this week,” Pramote said.

The deputy commander of the southern Army warned that the authorities will have to step up law enforcement against the assailants.

Pramote said that after the insurgents carried out 20 simultaneous attacks in three southern border provinces in August, the authorities obtained arrest warrants for 16 suspects and arrested six of them while one was killed in Pattani’s Nong Chik district when resisting arrest.

Also on Wednesday, Pol Colonel Yannapong Ubolban, commander of Pattani’s Muang district police station, said officers are gathering evidence in the hunt for the four suspects in the latest attacks.