Bomb explosion kills, injures railway workers in southern Thailand

Mariyam Ahmad
2022.12.06
Pattani, Thailand
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Bomb explosion kills, injures railway workers in southern Thailand An official and a member of an explosives disposal team inspect a crater left by a blast from a bomb planted under rail tracks that killed at least three railway workers in Songkhla province, southern Thailand, Dec. 6, 2022. The two are walking near a cargo train stuck on the tracks after an earlier bomb blew up in the area on Dec. 3.
BenarNews

A bomb explosion on a railroad track killed at least three railway workers and officials as well as injured several others in southern Thailand on Tuesday, officials said, blaming separatist insurgents for the attack.

The bomb was planted near the site of an explosion Saturday that had derailed 11 of 20 cargo cars without causing any casualties in Songkhla province, railway officials said.

“While the railway officials were clearing the track, insurgents conducted another bombing a few hundred meters away from the first bomb site,” Lt. Gen. Santi Sakuntanak, the army chief in the Deep South, said during a visit to the scene.

“That means the attackers calculated that there must be officials coming to inspect the scene and collect evidence after the first attack, so they set off another bomb to kill and destroy properties.”

Deeden Kongsom, the chief technician for the State Railway of Thailand, witnessed the explosion.

“The bomb went off as we were walking from the previous bomb site … I saw my colleagues tossed away in different directions,” Deeden told reporters.

The bomb was planted between the Klong-ngae and Padang Besar railway stations on the fringes of the insurgency-wracked Deep South, and along a rail route that leads to the nearby Malaysian border.

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A soldier walks a sniffer dog on the tracks after a deadly explosion along a railway in Songkhla province, southern Thailand, Dec. 6, 2022 [BenarNews]

No insurgent groups have claimed responsibility for these attacks so far.  

Lt. Gen. Santi said the authorities had to be vigilant in protecting areas that could be soft targets during upcoming festivals.

“From now on, [we] have to keep extremely watchful in business areas because the attackers [may] take aim at tourist destinations not only in the Deep South, but Hat Yai, Satun and Surat Thani,” he said, referring to an adjoining district and provinces.

Tuesday’s attack was the second one in the southern border region in recent weeks that resulted in multiple casualties.

On Nov. 22, a massive explosion from a bomb-rigged pickup truck killed a police officer and injured dozens of people in Narathiwat province. At least three children, including a one-year-old, were among the injured, officials said. The bomb in that incident targeted a compound where police officers and their families live.

Since a separatist insurgency reignited in the Deep South in January 2004, at least 7,344 people have been killed and 13,641 injured in violence across the mainly Muslim and Malay-speaking border region, according to data updated through March 2022 by Deep South Watch, a local think-tank.

The region along Thailand’s border with Malaysia encompasses Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala provinces, and four districts of Songkhla province.

Government officials and representatives of Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the largest of the rebel groups in the Deep South, began Malaysia-brokered peace negotiations in early 2020. These talks followed years of negotiations between the government and MARA Patani, an umbrella group that brought together Deep South insurgent groups, including BRN.

The sixth face-to-face negotiation scheduled for this month has been delayed because of the Malaysian general election on Nov. 19, according to negotiators for both sides.

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