Public urged to report suspicious people or activities in Thailand’s Deep South

Members of the public in Thailand’s Deep South have been asked to be vigilant in looking out for suspicious strangers and materials, as part of intensified security, in anticipation of more attacks by southern insurgents.

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) squads expanded their search yesterday (Wednesday) on both sides of the rail tracksin Tha Pho sub-district of Songkhla, the scene of the explosions on Saturday and Sunday which killed three railway employees.

Railway officials want to ensure that there are no more explosive devices in the area, while teams have been working to repair the damaged railway and remove the derailed train cars, so the Hat Yai-Padang Besar train service can be resumed.

Police found pieces of a gas canister, a car battery, electrical wires and iron spikes yesterday, about three kilometres from the scene of the explosions, as they conducted foot patrolsalong the railway line, from Khlong Ngae station to the scene of the train derailment.

Army Commander-in-Chief General Narongpan Jitkaewtae has ordered the Fourth Army Region to cooperate with police,to speed up the investigation into the bombing.

Songkhla Governor Jessada Jitrat called a meeting with security officials yesterday, to discuss the adjustment of security measures, after they received an intelligence report that insurgents might expand their operations beyond the areas covered by an emergency decree, which include Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla, namely Chana, Na Thawi, Thepha and Saba Yoi.

Commercial areas, tourist destinations and public utilities in particular are being targeted, according to security sources.

Meanwhile, businesses and tour operators in Songkhla Province, especially in Hat Yai district, have expressed concerns that the recent escalation of violence may affect tourism during the lead up to New Year, when many Malaysians are expected to visit.

Hotels in Hat Yai during the New Year are already 80% booked up.


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