Update News: MILITANTS EMERGED AND DEMANDED TO REMOVE PASSENGERS
All bus services to Betong district have been suspended in the wake of the attack on Sunday, when armed men torched a Double-Decker bus after ordering the passengers to leave it.
Paniwan Ruangmanee, chief of Yala bus terminal under Transport Co, said she had ordered a halt to all Betong services until it is judged safe for them to resume. A Bangkok-Betong bus was burned and destroyed in Bannang Sata district on Sunday afternoon by 10 armed men who first forced the crew and passengers off the bus. There were no injuries reported.
The incident occurred on Road 410 about 2.20 pm at Ban Kasod in Bannang Sata district. The bus had departed Betong, heading to Bangkok, with 11 passengers, the driver and a bus attendant. When authorities arrived with an explosive ordnance team, the Double-Decker bus operated by Siam Transport Co was engulfed in flames. Police found burned tires, a felled tree and spikes spread over the road to stop traffic and prevent security forces chasing after them.
Yala governor Anuchit Trakulmata ordered that the stranded passengers be given transport to Songkhla’s Hat Yai district to continue their trip to Bangkok or other destinations. He said the bus wreckage would be removed today, and taken to Ranger Task Force 33 for forensic examination for evidence.
The 4th Army Region commander has meanwhile voiced suspicions about the burning of the bus, saying it might be linked to a business conflict but was staged to look like an insurgent attack. Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich said authorities are investigating all possibilities.
Col Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), said the bus attack differed from insurgent attacks in that they showed no intention to hurt people. Authorities were looking into all possible motives, he said. All bus services to Betong district have been suspended in the wake of the attack on Sunday, when armed men torched a Double-Decker bus after ordering the passengers to leave it.