Thai government urges calm after explosion kills four (Roundup)
Oct 6, 2010, 11:06 GMT
Bangkok - The Thai government urged the public to remain calm Wednesday after an explosion damaged an apartment block north of Bangkok, killing four people and injuring nine.
'I believe the government can control the situation,' Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said following the latest in a series of explosions suspected to be aimed at stirring up political turmoil in the country. 'The situation is still normal.'
He said he had telephoned Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is attending the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels, to tell him about the explosion.
Abhisit Wednesday expressed his condolences to the victims of the blast and ordered police to 'investigate and clarify the incident to the public promptly.'
The blast hit the Samarn Metta Mansion in the Thippawan housing estate in Nonthaburi province, 40 kilometres north of Bangkok, at about 6 pm (1100 GMT) Tuesday, only hours after the government extended for three months a state of emergency in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and two other central provinces.
Three bodies were found immediately after the blast and a fourth body of a man, still identified, was found on Wednesday.
The building partially collapsed and police were keeping people away from the site on Wednesday, fearing the remaining structure could fall down.
National Police Chief General Vichien Potephosri said investigators believe the explosion was caused by about 10 kilograms of TNT.
He said part of a battery, of a type similar to those used in previous bomb attacks in Bangkok, also had been found at the scene.
Vichien said police are seeking Samai Wongsuwan, from the northern province of Chiang Mai, as their prime suspect.
He said Samai, who was a guard at anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok in April and May, was already wanted in connection with four other bombings.
More than 10 explosions have rocked Bangkok since the protests and ensuing military crackdown resulted in 91 deaths and more than 1,800 injuries.
The blasts have been caused mainly by grenades and small bombs planted near government buildings and companies affiliated with the government.
Leaders of the demonstrations in April and May have accused the government of using the bomb attacks as a pretext for extending emergency rule and preventing public protests.
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