THE prime suspect of the bomb attacks in Thailand’s popular resort towns of Hua Hin and Phuket that killed four and wounded dozens is reportedly on the run in neighboring Malaysia.
Thai police said they obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect after DNA collected in Pattaya had matched his DNA which was retrieved in another bombing in 2008.
Police spokesman Col. Krisana Pattanacharoen announced Friday that a warrant had been issued for a man named Ahama Lengha because there was clear evidence linking him to the Aug. 11 and 12 attacks in seven provinces. Ahama is suspected of planting a bomb in Phuket’s Patong beach district, a popular tourist destination.
Ahama comes from Narathiwat, one of Thailand’s three southernmost provinces that have been buffeted since 2005 by a Muslim separatist insurgency that has taken more than 6,000 lives.
The government has not specified whom it believes responsible for the attacks, but analysts suspect they were carried out by southern separatists.
According to The Nation, Ahama, who is a resident of Tak Bai’s Tambon Koh Sathon, works at a fertilizer factory in Malaysia that is located 15 kilometers from his house. Officials say he returned home every weekend.
An official who declined to be named also said the man had refused to comply with police’s call for him to surrender himself to the authorities.
The official said Ahama had initially arranged to turn himself in under a plea-bargain deal over the 2008 case several days before the bomb attack in Phuket but disappeared after the new arrest warrant was issued.
The authorities were currently monitoring all border check points to look out for the suspect and have put his arrest warrant on the police surveillance system.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press