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Southern intelligence contradicts Deputy PM over Songkhla bomb motives




The deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan, and national security chief, is linking the Wednesday night bomb attacks in Songkhla to local politics in the southern province. This contradicts intelligence units on the ground who suspect the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) were behind the blasts, in an attempt to disturb the southern business hub. The BRN are the main political organisation linked to the southern insurgency.

There were no casualties but two blasts on Wednesday night blew off the tail of a mermaid statue on Simila Beach in Songkhla. Five more bombs were found and defused in the vicinity of the beach, a famous tourist attraction in the southern province.

Two other explosions damaged electricity transmission poles in the province’s Khuan Niang district, also on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, officials defused four bombs yesterday in Bang Klam district.

Prawit, who as deputy PM and defence minister oversees security matters says he was confident the incidents had nothing to do with the insurgency in the deep South, claiming that security authorities already knew who was behind the Simila Beach attack.

“The aim was to cause chaos during the New Year festival. The attacks may have stemmed from internal political problems in the province, though we cannot rule out separatists,” he said, without elaborating.

The explosions coincided with Prawit’s visit to the province to distribute land-title deeds among local people. The junta, which seized power in 2014, plans to call a general election in February next year.

However, security officials on the ground said operative cells of BRN had triggered the blasts to damage the southern business hub during the New Year season, as foreign visitors from neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia were about to flock to the area.

Evidence found at the scene indicated that the bomb was detonated by an electronic clock, suggesting the work of BRN insurgents, according to officials. Intelligence information also indicated that some operative cells of the group had been active in the area over the past weeks, an official said.

“The public should not panic. I have already ordered police reinforcements and stronger screening of people to build public confidence,” he said yesterday.

Unlike Prawit, Srivara reckoned the attack was aimed at causing turmoil during the festive period and did not have anything to do with local politics.

Southern intelligence contradicts Deputy PM over Songkhla bomb motives | News by Thaiger Southern intelligence contradicts Deputy PM over Songkhla bomb motives | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation


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