One killed, 16 injured as car bomb rips through Narathiwat police flats
A massive car-bomb blast ripped through the supposedly safe green zone of downtown Narathiwat on Tuesday afternoon, killing one policeman and injuring 16 others.
The explosion occurred at 12.50pm inside the compound of Narathiwat police residential flats in Muang district.
The homemade bomb was hidden inside a pickup truck thought to have been parked at the heart of the complex by Malay-Muslim insurgents fighting a two-decade battle for southern autonomy.
Traffic police officer Capt Sutthirak Phanthaniyom was killed on the spot while 16 others – mostly members of police families staying in the flats – were injured.
A police bomb disposal team later found an unexploded bomb planted opposite the flats, in front of the Nara Sikhalai nursery school.
So-called “double-tap” attacks, in which security forces responding to one blast are then targeted by a second often larger bomb, are a hallmark of southern insurgents.
Firefighters took about 20 minutes to put out the fire in flats and vehicles that resulted from the explosion. The blast also blew off the roof of the car park and sent black smoke billowing over the Narathiwat skyline.
A bomb detection squad scoured the area for more hidden devices but found none.
Police sealed off the area as they searched for evidence and more bombs.
Security forces also stepped up security in downtown Narathiwat on Tuesday afternoon.