BANGKOK, April 9 – A series of bombings in Thailand’s southern province of Yala was meant to shake the region’s economy and tourism, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said today.
In an interview before leaving for an inspection trip in Yala, he ruled out the possibility that the latest explosions which rocked Yala city were related to the assignment of a new 4th Army Region commander to the South.
In the mid-year army reshuffle, Lt-Gen Walit Rojanapakdi, commander of the 1st Army Corp, was appointed 4th Army Region commander, replacing Lt-Gen Sakol Chuentrakul.
He said the incident could be linked to the upcoming Songkran celebration and the 10th anniversary of Krue Se mosque incident, adding that Muslim militants’ objectives were to jeopardise the economy and tourism, and pressure Thai Buddhists to move out of the area.
The attacked areas were dominated by the Thai Buddhist business community, he said.
Gen Prayuth said the militants have been trying to provoke the authorities to violently retaliate and they have readjusted their strategy by using small-sized bombs, aiming at burning targetted areas.
More closed-circuit cameras will be installed, he said and called on southern residents to fully cooperate with the authorities.