New Year bombs shake Bangkok, police baffled
THAILAND: Thailand grappled on Monday with the mystery of who ruined
New Year celebrations with a series of bombs which killed two people in
the capital and wounded more than 30 as police ruled out the obvious
A top policeman ruled out Muslim insurgents currently waging a
separatist insurgency in the Malay-speaking far south despite
similarities in style, and no one in authority was pointing the finger
at backers of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
"I don't believe it has anything to do with the militants in the
south," deputy national police chief General Achiravit Supanpasat told
reporters after bombs forced the cancellation of New Year street
parties. In their latest war to break free of overwhelmingly Buddhist
Thailand, Muslim insurgents in the deep south have exploded strings of
small bombs, set off by digital watch timers or mobile phones, designed
to cause chaos rather than mass deaths.
However, the militants have never ventured out of their region, and
there is no proof foreign terrorist groups such as al Qaeda are involved
in the insurgency.
Five of the first series of six bombs in Bangkok several hours before
midnight were triggered by timers.
Some were planted in areas likely to cause deaths outside a shopping
mall, in an open-air market and some were not, like one in the parking
lot of a shopping mall and another at an intersection.
But two later bombs which exploded around midnight would have caused
untold mayhem had street New Year countdowns not been cancelled. They
were planted at either end of the broad stretch of road in the capital's
upscale shopping district where the main street party was to have been
Ten people were wounded, eight of them foreigners 3 Hungarians, 2
Britons, 2 Serbs and an American.
Yet despite ruling out Muslim militants whose insurgency has cost
more than 1,800 lives over the past three years, Bangkok officials were
not blaming the other obvious suspects Thaksin supporters. Celebrations
were also cancelled in Chiang Mai, a major tourist destination in the
north and Thaksin's home town.
In Bangkok, troops moved onto the streets to help police with
security, with Governor Apirak Kosayodhin promising special protection
for transport systems and the city's many shopping malls.
"They want us to panic. They want us to point fingers, pass the blame
and fight among ourselves," the English-language Nation newspaper said
in a front-page editorial. "They want to aggravate our political
Bangkok, Monday, Reuters