Deadly Bomb Blast Hits Military Convoy in Thai Deep South

Mariyam Ahmad
Pattani, Thailand
2020-10-01
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201001-TH-attack-620.jpg Soldiers stand guard at the site of a bombing of a military motorcade in southern Songkhla province that killed one and injured six others, Oct. 1, 2020.
BenarNews

One soldier was killed and six others were injured when an explosion from a roadside bomb struck a column of vehicles carrying troops in Thepa, a district of Songkhla province in Thailand’s insurgency-stricken Deep South, officials said.

The incident was the first attack by rebels in the southern border region since Aug. 13, when separate attacks in Pattani and Narathiwat provinces killed two soldiers and injured six more.

In Thursday’s attack, suspected insurgents detonated an improvised explosive device just before noon that targeted about half a dozen buses and trucks carrying members of the 15th Infantry Regiment from Krabi province, officials at the Thepa police station said.

A military spokesman said more than 100 troops were being transported to replace those on duty in Wang in Narathiwat province, 200 km (124 miles) from the bomb site.

“The homemade bomb, controlled by radio, appeared to have been planted in a hurry on a tree in a road median strip in Thepa. It was triggered as the convoy was passing by,” police Col. Panyawat Petchum, the Thepa station chief, told reporters after he went to the scene. “We believe insurgents carried out the attack.”

Col. Watcharakorn Oanngern, deputy spokesman for the military’s regional command in Pattani province, confirmed that one soldier had died and six others suffered non-life threatening shrapnel wounds.

“Pvt. Attapon Plaichana, who was hit with shrapnel in his back and chest and suffered a lung hemorrhage, was sent to a hospital in Pattani but succumbed to his injuries,” said Watcharakorn of the Internal Security Operation Command Region 4.

Analyst: BRN behind bombing

Professor Srisompob Jitpiromsri, the director for Deep South Watch, a think-tank based in Pattani, said he was convinced that Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) carried out the attack.

“Today’s attack was done by the BRN to push for fully delegated peace talks which have been on hold since March, though lower-leveled negotiations have been continued,” he told BenarNews on Thursday.

“In the past, the BRN carried out similar kinds of attacks,” he said.

Leaders of BRN did not claim responsibility for the bombing or any previous attacks during a COVID-19-related ceasefire.

After the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Thailand, BRN in April announced that it had stopped all militant activities to allow Thai officials to deal with the pandemic.

Despite that announcement, 51 incidents of violence have taken place, resulting in the deaths of 31 people, including 10 police and soldiers and seven civilians. Another 51 people have been injured, according to statistics compiled by BenarNews from police reports.

BRN, Thailand’s largest insurgent group in the Malay-speaking Muslim-majority Deep South, became the main peace dialogue partner with Bangkok earlier this year.

In June, Gen. Wanlop Rugsanaoh, who leads the government delegation in the peace talks, told BenarNews that he expected to meet with the BRN once the pandemic subsided and travel would be allowed in Thailand and neighboring Malaysia.

Abdul Rahim Noor, the Malaysian facilitator of the talks, told BenarNews then that the talks would “persist until an agreement is achieved to have complete peace in South[ern] Thailand.”

Wanlop did not respond to BenarNews requests for comment on Thursday.

In January 2004, BRN and other militants in the region reignited an insurgency which has resulted in more than 7,000 deaths, according to Deep South Watch.

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