YALA – Authorities in Southern Thailand have reported that about 10 armed men believed to be southern militants seized a bus, chased away all the passengers and set fire to the bus in Yala’s Bannang Sata district Sunday afternoon.
The Siam Travel Company’s bus left Betong district for destination in Bangkok was stopped by a group of about 10 armed men as it was travelling on Route 410 in Ban Kasod, Bannang Sata district.
According to Thai PBS, some of the insurgents boarded the bus and chased all the 11 passengers, the driver and his assistant out of the vehicle before they poured gasoline on it and set it afire. Before they fled away, they cut down a roadside tree to block the board and scattered spikes on the road to prevent security forces from chasing after them.
All the passengers, the bus driver and his assistant were unharmed.
Police suspected a group of insurgents led by Ahama Leubasar were behind the torching as they were active in the area. It was suspected that at least 20 people were involved in the operation, split into groups responsible for felling the tree, setting fire to the tires and torching the bus.
Police said that about four years ago on April 5, a group of militants detonated a roadside bomb at the same scene, killing Yala deputy governor Isra Thongthawat.