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Big-C Bombers in Pattani Identified by Thai Authorities

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Insurgents detonate two bombs at Big C shopping mall, the largest shopping mall in Thailand’s southern border provinces on May 9, 2017. At least 61 people were injured


PATTANI – More than 60 people including children were injured yesterday when a car bomb exploded outside a supermarket in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued south, police said, the largest attack for months on a civilian target there.

The Muslim-majority border region has seethed with violence for over a decade as ethnic Malay insurgents battle the Buddhist-majority state for more autonomy.

The latest attack hit the town of Pattani around 2pm yesterday with two bombs going off outside the Big C, a busy supermarket near the town centre.

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Emergency crews attend the bombing scene in southern Thailand. (Photo: AFP).

Video posted by a witness on Twitter showed the second blast detonate in a large fireball, sending bystanders running for cover.

The first device was packed inside a motorcycle in the car park, officers said, spreading panic among shoppers.

“The second blast was a car bomb,” Pattani police commander Major General Thanongsak Wangsupa told AFP.

Deputy national police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told reporters 51 people were injured by the blasts, four of them seriously.

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Thai forensic police inspect the scene of the two bombings in southern Thailand. (Photo: AFP).

Police were on the scene and appeared to be encouraging people to move back when the second blast struck.

In heavy rain forensic officers started searching through the twisted remains of the car looking for clues, an AFP photographer said.

A large swathe of the supermarket storefront had been blown away, replaced by a twisted mess of charred metal.

“I heard a very loud explosion,” a resident who lives close to the supermarket told AFP, requesting anonymity.

“Minutes after that, I heard the sirens of rescue cars and ambulances. I feel bad about it… it happened at a place where people go to buy things.”

Authorities have identified at least four suspects in the huge car bombing at the Big C superstore from CCTV footage

Without naming them, security sources said on Wednesday that two of the suspects parked the pickup truck that carried the bombs, while the other two waited for their accomplices on motorcycles in front of the superstore. All four had criminal records.

Some officials believed that additional gang members may have posed as customers at the supercentre shortly before the explosions.

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Security officials collected evidence related to Tuesday’s bombings at the cordoned-off Big C superstore in Muang district, Pattani, on Wednesday.

Authorities believed that two groups of people might be involved in the bombing. One of them may have stolen the pickup truck from a canvas roof vendor from Yala province on Tuesday morning, several hours before the attacks.

The Big C store will remain closed until June 1 pending completion of the investigation and repairs to the facilities. Thirty-eight people remained at Pattani Hospital for treatment on Wednesday.

Source: Bangkok Post, AFP

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