Thailand issues arrest warrant over deadly tourist town bombings | News | DW | 16.08.2016
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Thailand issues arrest warrant over deadly tourist town bombings

A military court in Thailand has approved an arrest warrant for a suspect in connection with a wave of recent bomb attacks. The suspect is also reportedly tied to a similar bombing in southern Thailand in 2004.

An arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday for a suspect believed to be involved in last week's bomb attacks which killed four and injured 30 across several provinces in Thailand, police said.

"The court has approved the arrest warrant for one suspect for the explosions. We can't say who that individual is," said Chaiyapol Chatchaidet, commander of the Counter Crime Planning Division.

DNA evidence collected at one of the blast sites in Phuket matched with a person involved in a similar attack carried out in 2004 in southern Thailand, police said earlier on Tuesday.

The suspect is wanted for carrying out an explosion with intent to injure or kill, reported local news station MCOT.

The station added that the suspect is a Thai man, but no further information was immediately provided about the man's motive or background.

"We believe this person will be key in solving last week's bombing," Police General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said.

One suspect has already been arrested for arson, Thai police said on Sunday. Earlier, authorities said they were looking for "one individual" who they said was responsible for planning the attacks.

Southern insurgents possibly involved

The explosions targeted popular tourist spots across several Thai provinces last Thursday and Friday, just days after the nation voted to approve a military junta-backed constitution.

On Monday, Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said southern insurgents may have been involved in the recent bombings. However, he denied that the attacks were connected to a violent separatist movement in southern Thailand.

Officials denying direct involvement by the insurgents is to be expected, security experts told Reuters news agency, since an admission would have major security and economic implications for Thailand.

A movement to create an independent state in three majority-Muslim provinces in the south of Thailand has existed for decades, but resurged in 2004.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in the region due to bombings, shootings and arson attacks since 2004, according to monitoring group Deep South Watch.

rs/se (dpa, Reuters)

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