′One individual′ was behind Thai attacks: police | News | DW | 14.08.2016
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'One individual' was behind Thai attacks: police

Thai police say they have a "clear idea" who was behind deadly attacks across several areas last week. But they declined to give the person's identity or explain the motive behind the bombings and arson attacks.

Thai police say they have identified the man behind a series of bombing and arson attacks last week that left four people dead and dozens wounded.

Deputy National Police Chief, Pongsapat Pongcharoen, said police had a, "clear idea" of who orchestrated the bomb attacks.

"The events are connected, carefully planned and carried out across many areas and masterminded by one individual," he said, without elaborating on who the individual was or the motive behind the attacks.

At least 11 bombs and a series of arson attacks struck at various locations in seven provinces in the south on Thursday and Friday. More than 30 people were wounded, including European tourists.

Long-running turmoil

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, which are seen as an attack against a military government, that prides itself on having restored stability to Thailand since its latest coup in 2014.

Political turmoil has plagued Thailand for more than a decade, with populist forces loyal to the ousted Shinawatra family, resisting the military-backed elite.

Watch video 00:50

Thailand blasts hit tourist towns

Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck were both elected prime minister - in 2001 and 2011, respectively. While they each pledged to reduce poverty, develop infrastructure and promote business development, their work was clouded by allegations of corruption and authoritarian tendencies.

Both were subsequently overthrown - Thaksin by a flat-out military coup in 2006 and Yingluck by a Constitutional Court order in 2014.

Violent clashes

The rival camps have repeatedly clashed in street protests that have, at times, also included gun fights and grenade attacks.

But the latest bombings, which targeted tourist towns in a coordinated fashion, suggest an escalation of the revolt and the violence

The attacks occurred just days after the junta won a controversial referendum vote on a new constitution it drafted. In the run-up to the vote, it was prohibited to express opposition to the new charter.

Critics say the document will make the country less democratic. It was nonetheless approved by 61 percent of voters, but rejected in the north and northeast - strongholds of the ousted government - and in the three insurgency-torn southern provinces.

'Homemade sabotage'

The shadowy southern rebellion has left more than 6,500 people dead since it erupted in 2004.

Some analysts believe the bombs were the work of Muslim rebels, waging the long-running insurgency in Thailand's south.

Police reject that notion and have also ruled out international terrorist organizations, insisting the bombings were acts of "local sabotage."

"We believe (the bombers) are still in Thailand," Pongcharoen said. "All the incidents, bombs and arson attacks, were connected... we will talk about the motive later. Right now we are working on processing evidence, that will lead to suspects."

bik/tj (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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