Mul­ti­ple bomb­ings rock Thai­land

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

THAI­LAND has tight­ened se­cu­rity af­ter bomb at­tacks across the coun­try killed four peo­ple and wounded many more, with au­thor­i­ties strug­gling to iden­tify a mo­tive and find the per­pe­tra­tors.

Twin bombs ex­ploded in the up­mar­ket re­sort of Hua Hin late on Thurs­day, killing one woman and wound­ing more than 20 oth­ers.

They were fol­lowed by two more yes­ter­day morn­ing that killed an­other per­son.

A fur­ther two blasts struck yes­ter­day in the pop­u­lar tourist town of Phuket, while two more bombs were re­ported in the south­ern prov­inces of Trang and Su­rat Thani, in each of which one per­son was killed.

Last week, Thai­land voted to ac­cept a mil­i­tary­backed con­sti­tu­tion de­spite claims by op­po­nents that it will en­trench the mil­i­tary’s power and deepen di­vi­sions.

Speak­ing from Bangkok, jour­nal­ist Pailin Wedel quoted a po­lice spokesper­son as say­ing there is cur­rently no ev­i­dence of any link be­tween the dif­fer­ent blasts.

“They are also stick­ing to the line that they still do not have enough ev­i­dence that there are any links to out­side ter­ror­ism, south­ern in­sur­gency or any­thing that may be [tied] to the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion,” said Wedel.

Prayut Chan-o-Cha, the prime min­is­ter, called for calm and said that he did not know who was be­hind the at­tacks.

“The bombs are an at­tempt to cre­ate chaos and con­fu­sion,” he said in a con­ver­sa­tion with re­porters. “We should not make peo­ple panic more.”

“Why the bombs oc­curred as our coun­try is head­ing to­wards sta­bil­ity, a bet­ter econ­omy and tourism — and who did it — you have to find out for me.”

The two bombs that went off in Hua Hin on Thurs­day evening were hid­den in pot­ted plants and went off within 30 min­utes of each other in the bar district of the pop­u­lar beach town.

While small bomb­ings are com­mon in Thai­land dur­ing pe­ri­ods of height­ened po­lit­i­cal ten­sion, there have been few such in­ci­dents in the past year and it is rare for touris­tic ar­eas to be tar­geted.

Hua Hin is home to the sum­mer palace of Thai­land’s royal fam­ily and the blast came on the eve of Queen Sirikit’s 84th birth­day and just be­fore the first an­niver­sary of a Bangkok shrine bomb­ing that killed 20.

Au­thor­i­ties were search­ing for leads on the at­tack­ers and a mo­tive be­hind the lat­est blasts.

Ac­cord­ing to staff at lo­cal hos­pi­tals, Ger­man, Ital­ian, Dutch and Aus­trian na­tion­als were among the wounded.

Thai­land is ex­pect­ing a record 32 mil­lion vis­i­tors in 2016, with the tourism in­dus­try a bright spot in an oth­er­wise lack­lus­tre econ­omy.

The lat­est blasts came just days be­fore the first an­niver­sary of the last ma­jor at­tack on tourists in Thai­land — an Au­gust 17 bomb that killed 20 peo­ple, mostly eth­nic Chi­nese tourists.

The blast struck a crowded Hindu shrine in the heart of Bangkok and stunned the coun­try as the dead­li­est as­sault in re­cent his­tory. — Reuters —

The in­jured are helped af­ter a bomb blast in the south­ern re­sort city of Hua Hin, 240km south of Bangkok, Thai­land. Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a se­ries of bomb blasts in Hua Hin and other cities in Thai­land. Daily News

Edgar Lungu

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