Blasts rock Thailand's Pattani, power poles felled

Explosions rocked four locations in Pattani's Muang district, while five power poles were blown up in separate incidents on Wednesday night, causing heavy property damage and blackouts in a wide area. However, no casualties were reported.

In response, security officials are keeping nine locations in the province under close watch after receiving tips that they might be targeted next. The locations being monitored include Diana Mall, the night market, Doctor

Wit market, the clock-tower traffic circle, a municipal market near the central mosque, a market by the Pattani River, areas near Charoen Pradit Road and the downtown flea market.

The four blasts in downtown areas caused heavy damage to people's property, including 42 motorcycles and three vehicles. Several offices, an auto showroom, a few convenience stores and many houses also sustained damage.

Drowned in darkness

Meanwhile, attached bombs brought down five power poles in the district's suburbs, with a man getting injured when his motorcycle slammed into one of the poles after the area became pitch-dark.

Explosives Ordnance Disposal personnel said all the bombs had 20 to 25 kilograms of explosives in small cooking-gas cylinders. Security sources, meanwhile, believe two men wearing caps on a motorcycle planted the bombs, which were later triggered by mobile-phone signals.

A source said it should be easy to track down the masterminds as it looks like the same people are behind planning and implementing the attacks.

Military spokesman Colonel Pramot Phrom-in said the bombs were detonated one minute apart and the attacks were aimed at discrediting the authorities and instigating chaos among residents. He called on the media and the public not to link the latest attacks to a recent shooting of four men in Pattani's Thung Yang Daeng district.

Meanwhile, Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said he had ordered that the probe into those killings as well as the related detention of four people be carried out transparently. This was in response to many local residents and relatives of the dead men and four detainees insisting they had nothing to do with the insurgency down South.