Two More Arrest Warrants Issued For Thai Tourist Bombings


Two more arrest warrants issued for Thai tourist bombings

BANGKOK, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd September, 2016) : A Thai military court issued two more arrest warrants Friday accusing Muslim men from its insurgency-torn south of involvement in last month's tourist town bombings, deepening speculation the attacks were waged by rebels from the border region.

The new warrants came as Thai officials met for peace talks with representatives of the ethnic Malay militants behind the 12-year revolt in Thailand's three southern border provinces, a Muslim-majority area known as the 'deep south'.

No one has claimed responsibility for the August 11-12 bombing spree that struck top tourist towns further north, killing four and wounding dozens. But security analysts say the attacks bore all the hallmarks of the southern insurgents, even if the tourist towns lay far outside their traditional conflict zone.

Thai authorities have now identified five suspects -- all Muslim men from the deep south, several of whom have a record of involvement in the insurgency. Yet police stressed again Friday it was too early to determine a motive for the blasts that fell on a public holiday and rocked Thailand's vital tourist industry.

"Their motivation is still unclear because we have not managed to get any in custody," deputy national police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told AFP. If the rebels are to blame, it would be an unprecedented expansion of a campaign that has killed 6,500 people -- mainly civilians -- since 2004 but rarely spills outside the border region or targets foreigners.

It would also undercut the Thai junta's claims to have stemmed violence in the restive border region since its 2014 power grab. The new arrest warrants named two men in their thirties from Pattani, a province in the heart of the insurgency, and said they were wanted for carrying out bomb and arson attacks, according to a police statement.

The warrants were issued as Thai government negotiators met with representatives of the rebels in neighbouring Malaysia as part of an ongoing peace process that has born little fruit under junta rule.

The rebel negotiators said "significant progress" was made at the meeting, without elaborating, according to a press conference shared on Facebook. But the leader of the Thai government's delegation stressed that no agreements were signed and said the talks were still in the "confidence building" phase.

A source told AFP the recent bombings were discussed but did not provide any more details. The insurgents never claim their attacks and little is known about the inner-workings of their shadowy network. Observers speculate the movement is fractured and have cast doubt on the ability of the rebels' representatives to control militants on the ground.