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Thailand: Series of fatal bombings kill 4, injure 35

12th Aug 2016
Thailand: Series of fatal bombings kill 4, injure 35

By Max Constant and CS Thana

 

BANGKOK (AA): Thai police said Friday that a series of bomb blasts that killed at least four people and injured around 35 were not related to terrorism.

In the past, Thai governments have avoided use of the term “terrorism” for fear of the effect it may have on the country’s famous tourist industry.

Instead, words such as “sabotage” and “criminal behavior” are utilized.

“Thailand has no religious or territorial quarrel with anyone. Therefore this was an act of sabotage, internal sabotage,” police spokesman Piyapan Phingmuang told reporters.

The overnight attacks rocked four cities in the south as the country prepared to celebrate the birthday of its queen — also Mothers’ Day in Thailand.

An insurgency in the country’s Muslim south has wracked border areas with Malaysia for decades, but insurgents have rarely troubled areas as north as some of the areas struck.

Initial blasts struck the southern province of Trang close to Malaysia late Thursday, with subsequent explosions shaking the resort city of Hua Hin (at 200 kilometers away, the closest of the targets to Bangkok), the large city of Surat Thani (again in the deep south), the tourist island of Phuket and then Hua Hin again.

Talking to reporters, junta chief-cum-Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said he did not want to speculate on who was responsible.

“We have to focus on restoring calm, peace and restoring confidence.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan underlined that the perpetrators wanted to do little than create disunity, and damage the name of the country.

“We don’t know if it is politically motivated but we will catch them,” he added.

All of the attacks shared the same profile, said Army Gen. Danai Kritmethavee at an event to commemorate the life of the queen.

The two latest blasts occurred in Hua Hin around 9 a.m. (0200GMT) Friday near its clock tower. They exploded simultaneously, and, according to pictures broadcast a few minutes after the explosions by local TV channel Nation TV, four people were injured — with one victim later succumbing to injuries in hospital.

One hour earlier, two bomb explosions took place in Surat Thani (650 kilometers away from the capital), killing one person and injuring at least four, just after a ceremony in the city center to pay homage to the queen.

The first bomb exploded in front of a police station and the second 30 minutes later in the same area, said Nation TV.

Another blast occurred Friday morning near Patong beach on Phuket (847 kilometers south of Bangkok) in which one person was injured.

Late Thursday evening, two bombs exploded within 20 minutes of each other in the tourist resort of Hua Hin, killing at least one person — a local street food seller — and injuring 22, including 10 foreigners.

Kritmethavee told Nation TV that two suspects were being interrogated.

“The two bombs were detonated remotely by mobile phone,” he told the channel.

Edwin Wiek, a Hua Hin resident who was at the scene of the Thursday night attack, told Anadolu Agency by phone that at least four foreign nationals were among those injured.

“I have lived here for over 20 years and have never seen anything like this,” Wiek said.

The attack was preceded by the attack on Trang, 840 kilometers south of Bangkok, in which five people were injured and one later died.

Police have asked locals to shelter in place or return home if they are near their places of residence.

The attacks also occur less than a week after a junta-backed constitution was approved by a referendum, increasing military influence in the political process following a 2014 coup.

 

[Photo: Thai security forces stand guard at the scene of a blast near Patong beach on Phuket (847 kilometers south of Bangkok) on August 12, 2016. A series of bomb blasts targeted four cities in southern Thailand overnight as the country prepared to celebrate the birthday of its queen. Photographer: Guillaume Payen/AA]

One Response to “Thailand: Series of fatal bombings kill 4, injure 35”

hanaAugust 13, 2016

very smart move to avoid relating it to terrorism.

Reply

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