New RKK recruits blamed for Yala bomb attacks
Most of the Islamic insurgents who were involved in the multiple bomb attacks in Yala townseat on the night of October 25 were newly-recruited RKK members and among them were several students of Yala’s educational institutes, according to Yala governor Krisda Boonrach.
The governor however did not produce any evidence to prove the presence of students among the insurgents but noted that since the insurgents were familiar with the roads in the provincial town they must be local people. He also said that the new recruits were trained by the RKK in jungle camps in Yarang district of Pattani.
Three people, including two insurgents, were killed and about 50 were injured in more than 20 bomb explosions in different locations in the township. One of the bombs accidentally went off as two insurgents, riding on a motorcycle, were carrying it to a designated target. They were identified as Hamlee Morsu, 22 and Sakariya Sanoyara, 21, both of them natives of Pattani.
According to the governor, the bomb attacks were carefully plotted and well coordinated. About 50 insurgents, including an unspecified number of females, were involved in the plot. All of them wore crash helmets and wore jackets to conceal their faces from surveillance cameras installed at various locations in the township.
The insurgent group travelled in motorcycles in one or two per one vehicle. In one incident caught by a surveillance camera, one female was seen riding a motorbike which stopped at a street corner. Then she got off and distributed leaflets advertising a housing project to passers-by and shortly afterward she was picked up by another motorcyclist and sped away.
In another incident, one pillion rider was spotted by a defence volunteer putting a bag, suspected to be a bomb, in front of Saeb Isarn food shop on Pung Muang 5 Road. The volunteer yelled at him and ordered him to stop but the suspect quickly escaped in a waiting motorcycle. Shortly afterward, an explosion went off at the spot where the suspected bag was dropped.
Some of the bombs were stuffed in motorcycles while others which were of smaller sizes were stuffed in empty soft drink bottles and placed in shops.
Security forces suspected that the multiple bomb attacks were not meant to kill because most of the bombs planted were not powerful but were actually meant to cause panic among the town’s people and to disrupt the economy as the places targeted were the business centre of Yala. They also believed that the attacks were intended to challenge a new organization overseeing the affairs in the deep South.
Mr Jirayu Chusuwan, owner of Chibuya Buffet chain restaurant, said that although no one was killed at his restaurant his business had been badly affected by the incident. One restaurant was badly damaged and two others suffered sharp sale drop as most customers stopped visiting his restaurants after the bomb attacks.
Mr Sompob Sudnaranont, owner of the Inca Inlove shop which sells the popular the anti-violence T-shirts said that on the night of the bomb attacks people in his community got out of their shops with whatever weapons they could grab to protect their properties.
He said that the best way to protect their properties is to join forces together within each community to protect themselves rather than depending on government officials. He said he didn’t want to blame the authorities for their failure to stop the insurgents “because they,too, are humans and have to protect themselves when there is a bomb explosion”.