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Bombs destroy immigration posts in southern Thailand

GOLOK (Southern Thailand), 14 Jan 2009: Two bombs exploded at the Malaysia-Thailand checkpoint this morning, destroying three new posts belonging to the Thai immigration at the Golok bridge.

The first bomb went off at 6.30am local time (7.30am Malaysian time), destroying three of the six posts.

Fifteen minutes later another bomb exploded nearby, forcing the closure of the busy bridge which connects Golok in Thailand and Rantau Panjang in Kelantan, Malaysia.

Thai deputy consul-general in Malaysia, Niran Boonjit, told Bernama that no one was injured in the incident.

“The posts will be used by the immigration department as temporary office and have not started operations yet. There was nobody near the place when the explosions occurred,” he said.

A Thai police spokesman told Bernama in Bangkok that both bombs, weighing one and two kilogrammes, were triggered using digital watches.

Members of the media were not allowed near the scene.

The bridge, which is open daily from 6am to 10pm, had been reopened and the situation returned to normal.

“The situation is under control. Everything is back to normal at the entry gate,” Niran said.

A worker at the checkpoint, Mokhtar Che Mat, said workers, fearing for their safety, ran helter-skelter for cover upon hearing the explosions.  

A tour guide, Shaari Jusoh, said the loud explosions could he heard in Rantau Panjang, some 300 metres away.

Kelantan police chief, Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi, when contacted, said police were on the alert and had taken steps to ensure safety at the border.  

He reminded Malaysians to be extra careful when visiting restive southern Thailand provinces.

More than 3,500 people have died since suspected separatists resumed their armed campaign to seek independence for the three Muslim-majority provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

 

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