Published on July 18, 2007
A bomb exploded at a Yala intersection yesterday killing an officer and injuring 20 others, including three journalists. The bomb exploded about half an hour after an earlier, smaller explosion.
The second blast ripped through shop houses and convenience stores at a major intersection outside the train station. The bomb also destroyed several motorbikes that were parked next to a public taxi stand for passengers travelling on the Yala-Betong route.
The bomb appeared to have been targeted at police and forensic officers who were called to the scene after the earlier bomb that was much smaller.
Authorities were ill prepared as they carried out their investigations. There were no fire fighters or medical personnel to hand. The blaze from the bomb set one officer from an ordinance unit on fire, as his colleague desperately tried to put out the fire.
The use of the "second-bomb" tactic by insurgents has become common in the violence-plagued region where more than 2,300 people have been murdered since January 2004. Insurgents often use one bomb to lure the authorities to a scene, where they then trigger a second blast, police said.
The first bomb was hidden inside a crash-helmet and placed in a motorbike basket. The second one, much more powerful, appeared to have been set off remotely after several officers arrived at the scene.
Police Sgt Subin Pruekmongkol, who was severely wounded, was later pronounced dead at Yala Hospital.
Two other police officers suffered serious injuries, while three local reporters suffered minor injuries. Some 13 passers-by, who were close to the scene, also suffered minor injuries.
The double bomb attack shattered the upbeat mood of officials in Yala after there had been no bomb attacks for the past three weeks. A month-long sweep in two violence-prone districts had resulted in the detention of more than 350 suspected insurgents and sympathisers.
Critics say the sweep was largely for public consumption as all insurgents fled Banang Sata and Krong Pinang districts on the first day of the operation.