Officials condemn bomb attack that targeted monks, troops in Pattani

PM's Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana and the Army condemned a bomb attack that killed a monk and a soldier and injured six others in Pattani's Sai Buri district early yesterday.

Police found eight people injured by the bomb, hidden in a garbage can, shortly after 6am in Taluban Municipal area - three soldiers guarding two monks from Wat Wimonwattanaram on their morning round to collect alms, plus three local people.

The injured soldiers were Corporal Wannamai Rakhano, 28; Sergeant Poonsap Wannaweera, 25; and Master Sergeant First Class Chanan Poompipat, 40. The monks were Phra Payom (Thanawuttho) Suktri, 54, and Phra Ekkapol (Intharo) Sri-o-sod, 43.

Three local people were Somjai Visetsuwannapum, 78, Niwat Nima, 45, and Suwapa Khong-in, 43.

Corporal Wannamai and Phra Ekkapol were pronounced dead at hospital.

Suwaphan said the attack was tragic and very regrettable and that senior officials from the National Office of Buddhism had stepped in to aid the innocent and affected monks, who were just collecting alms. He condemned those who launched this attack as inhumane people seeking to create hatred to ensure their violence would obstruct peaceful co-existence.

He urged all sides to do more to resolve the unrest, saying religious and community leaders in the |deep South should condemn |such violence and call for a halt to violence targeting monks.

Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) spokesman Banphot Poonpien yesterday said Army chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr had sent his condolences to the victims' families and instructed units in the region to tighten security. Banphot said the Pattani bombing was likely to have been carried out by "extremists", a minority group isolated from the ongoing "peace momentum" in the restive region. He said the attackers wished to derail efforts to restore peace and instigate a religious divide among people.

ISOC Region 4 Front Command spokesman Colonel Pramote Prom-in also condemned the bombing and offered condolences to the families of the victims. He promised that state agencies would provide full remedial measures and welfare. He also praised the slain and injured officers for their bravery and sacrifice for the region's peace.

Pramote also noted that the attack reflected the insurgents' aim to continue creating violence against people and property, to spread hatred and disunity in this multicultural society.

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