BANGKOK – Security forces in southern Thailand have been instructed to intensify investigations over the seizure of 41 home-made bombs from a pickup truck in Narathiwat yesterday as a police officer in the restive province claimed the improvised explosive devices were made in Malaysia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan wants the authorities to identify the culprits behind the bombs.
“They (the authorities) need to find out who was responsible for bringing the bombs. They need to investigate more,” he said to reporters today, adding that officers were also instructed to hunt and arrest a suspect who evaded arrest by fleeing into some jungle.
His statement came as Thai security forces in the southern provinces stepped up surveillance following the seizure of the bombs.
Meanwhile, Narathiwat Police chief Maj Gen Manas Sikamat was quoted as telling the local media today that the bombs were made in neighbouring Malaysia and were intended to harm security officers.
He, however, did not provide any evidence to back his claim about the origin of the bombs although an unidentified Thai officer quoted by the local media claimed the PVC pipes used for the bombs were not available in Thailand.
At 11.45 am (local time) yesterday, officers manning a checkpoint in Kampung Saring in the Takbai district in Narathiwat stopped a pickup truck and arrested a 39-year-old man at the wheel.
The truck, from Sungai Golok near the Thai-Malaysian border, was heading to the Ranget district in Narathiwat.
Upon inspection, the officers found the 41 bombs hidden under a thick blanket at the back of the vehicle along with other equipment including timer and communication devices suspected to be used for detonating the explosives.
According to the Explosive, Ordnance and Disposal (EOD) officers at the scene, the bombs were ready to be used at any time.
Non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch (DSW) said the southern Thailand conflict between the government forces and armed groups since 2004 had claimed about 7,000 lives. – BERNAMA