Police have detained three suspects allegedly involved in the daring robbery of a used car dealer’s shop in Na Thawi district of Songkhla last week.
Police said that about 20 people were involved in the Aug 16 robbery and in the smuggling of ready-made bombs or parts of the bombs by boat to be fitted to the stolen vehicles.
Seven pickup trucks were stolen in the incident–one from Yarang district of Pattani and six others from the used-car dealer’s shop in Na Thawi district. All the seven vehicles have either been recovered by police or damaged by explosions.
On Sunday (Aug 20), security forces used boats to patrol a canal in Tambon Pulorpayo which is connected with Tambon Lipasa-ngo of Nong Chik district to search for the spots where suspected militants or their supporters landed their boats to move ready-made bombs or bomb-making materials on shore.
One of the three detained suspects told the interrogators that bombs and bomb-making materials were smuggled by boat in order to avoid detection by security forces.
Meanwhile, troops from Pattani Task Force searched three spots in two tambons in Nong Chik district and also in Tambon Talubo in Muang district to look for suspected militants and their supporters.
Maj-Gen Chatuporn Klumpasut, commander of Pattani Task Force, named three militant groups for involvement in the daring robbery and bomb attacks. They were Bukkorlee Lumso’s group, Manasae Saidee’s group and Mahama Sa-e’s group.
He said that the DNA found on one of the stolen vehicles abandoned in a rubber plantation in Khok Pho district of Pattani matched with the DNA of Rosaree Lumso, younger brother of Bukkorlee Lumso and the DNA found on the wreckage of another vehicle which exploded in front of Mayo district’s police lodging matched with that of Mahama Sa-e’s.
The general said he believes there are still some ready-made bombs left in Nong Chik district and asked for cooperation from people in the district to notify the authorities if they found suspicious objects.
Police have so far questioned 20 people regarding the robbery and recent bomb attacks.
Pol Lt-Gen Sakorn Thongmunee, commissioner of 9th provincial police bureau, said he expected warrants to be issued on Monday (Aug 21) against four suspects for the initial stage.
The father of one of the militants killed in a shootout, Mr Maruting Arwae, told Thai PBS that he didn’t know his son had joined the militant group. He claimed that his son, Nuhasan Arwae, was a good and humble boy.
He said the incident should serve a lesson for parents to closely watch their children to prevent them from being drawn into the militant groups.