11 July 2024

Staff at a convenience store in the southern border province of Narathiwat narrowly escaped injury from an improvised incendiary device, left inside the store by a suspected insurgent who possibly forget to activate the timer.

During a routine check of goods at a 7-Eleven store in Yee Ngor district last night (Friday), a staff member found a bag with a protruding wire in a shelf of sanitary napkins and immediately alerted the police.

A team of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officers soon arrived at the store. One of them activated a signal jamming system, to interrupt communication signals in the area, before the rest of them went inside to dispose of the suspicious object.

The bag was carefully opened to reveal an improvised incendiary device, about half a kilogram in weight, but its timer had not been activated, said an EOD official, adding that the device was not powerful enough to kill, but could start a fire.

Security officials said they believe the person who planted the device could be a member of the group which carried out a spate of bomb attacks 7-Elevens and gas stations in Yala, Narathiwat and Narathiwat provinces on the night of August 17th.

The officials said the insurgent groups specifically targeted convenience stores because they were deemed to be a symbol of the local economy.

So far, four suspects have been held in custody for questioning in connection with the attacks.

Insurgent groups, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) in particular, have been carrying out gun and bomb attacks against Thai government forces, officials and economic targets since 2004, seeking self-determination. To date the violence has claimed more than 7,300 lives. Peace talks between government and insurgent representatives, facilitated by Malaysia, have been on and off for years, with little progress.