Thai police name suspects in killing of bomb-disposal officers

THAILAND - One is a much-wanted, skilled bomb-maker. The other is the chief of a foreign-trained Runda Kumpalan Kecil (RKK) terror cell.

Police believe Abdullah U-lae assembled the two bombs and buried them at the site, off a major road in Bacho district. They detonated the second one while the EOD team was defusing the first bomb, which was found nearby, local police said on Tuesday.

Abdullah is wanted under four security warrants for his alleged roles in several bomb attacks. Police claim he is operating under the command of Marohmueree Kajaekasor, who heads an RKK cell active in the district.

The explosion on Tuesday has prompted a new rule of engagement for EOD personnel and a restriction on members of the media, requiring them to stay 200 metres away from any suspected bombs, as cited in a statement by Army spokesman Colonel Banphot Phoolphian.

The funerals of the three officers were attended by a large number of relatives and mourners, and presided over by their superiors. Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha mourned the loss of their lives and praised police and military EOD personnel for their dedication and hard work.

The three officers, Pol Sub-Lieutenants Shaen Warongphaisit and Charoon Mekmaung and Pol Sergeant Nimit Deewong, have been promoted posthumously to the rank of police lieutenant-|general, police major-general and lieutenant-colonel respectively, with the change taking effect immediately, said a police spokesman.

Their families are entitled to assistance money in the range of Bt3.96 million, Bt2.98 million and Bt2.93 million respectively, while their spouses and children will be welcomed to serve as police officers.

The loss of the three EOD officials, as well as six other deaths and 15 injuries or disabilities sustained this year, have not affected regular police duties and counter-insurgency operations, said Narathiwat Police chief Pol Maj-General Phatthanawut Angkhanawin.