Cops ‘know’ who is be­hind bomb­ings

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THAI po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing a wave of bomb­ings that rocked tourist des­ti­na­tions and killed four peo­ple said yes­ter­day they know who was be­hind the at­tacks.

Po­lice said two men have been held for ques­tion­ing over the blasts in Hua Hin – a re­sort town struck by four of the bombs – with a third ar­rested over a sus­pected ar­son at­tack in Nakhon Si Tham­marat prov­ince.

No one has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for at least 11 small ex­plo­sives and se­ries of sus­pected ar­son at­tacks that ripped across core tourist hubs the night of Au­gust 11 and the morn­ing of Au­gust 12.

The bombs, most of them det­o­nated in twin blasts, struck hol­i­day re­sorts dur­ing a long week­end, in­clud­ing the sea­side town of Hua Hin and the is­land of Phuket.

“Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion is pro­gress­ing. We know who was be­hind it,” deputy po­lice spokesper­son Piya­pan Ping­muang said.

“We be­lieve [the bombers] are still in Thai­land. All the in­ci­dents, bombs and ar­son at­tacks, were con­nected ... We will talk about the mo­tive later.”

He re­peated the mil­i­tary govern­ment’s stance that a do­mes­tic group was be­hind the at­tacks but re­fused to pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

“It was an act of lo­cal sab­o­tage, not ter­ror­ism. We do not have ter­ror­ism in Thai­land,” he said.

The au­thor­i­ties have not pro­vided a pos­si­ble mo­tive be­hind the as­sault, but of­fi­cials have been quick to down­play spec­u­la­tion that it was the work of Mus­lim rebels fight­ing a long-run­ning in­sur­gency against state troops fur­ther south.

The con­flict zone – the only Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity area in Bud­dhist Thai­land – sees reg­u­lar bomb­ings and shoot­ings, but the vi­o­lence rarely leaks out­side the three prov­inces bor­der­ing Malaysia.

The re­cent blasts came as an af­front to a junta that prides it­self on bring­ing a mea­sure of sta­bil­ity to Thai­land since its 2014 power grab.

The king­dom has weath­ered a decade of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil amid a bit­ter power strug­gle.

The con­flict broadly pits ex-prime min­is­ter Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra and his ru­ral sup­port­ers in the north against a Bangkok-based elite that backed his ouster in 2006 and the re­cent coup that top­pled his sis­ter’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The blasts came only days af­ter the junta won a ref­er­en­dum vote on a new char­ter it drafted.

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