Thai Police: Suspect in Bangkok Shrine Attack Delivered Bomb

BenarNews Staff

2015-09-09
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150909-TH-suspect-1000 Yusufu Mieraili (in yellow shirt), a suspect in the Erawan Shrine bombing, enacts a scene in which he allegedly delivered a backpack carrying a bomb to this bench near Bangkok’s Hua Lum Pong railway station, Sept. 9, 2015.
Courtesy of Thai National Police

One of two men in custody in connection with Thailand’s deadliest terrorist act has confessed to delivering the bomb on the day of the attack to the suspected bomber, who remains at-large, Thai police said Wednesday.

For a second straight day, police accompanied suspect Yusufu Mieraili around Bangkok as he enacted scenes that allegedly led up to the Aug. 17 bombing at the Erawan Shrine at a busy intersection in the Thai capital. Twenty people were killed and another 120 were injured.

On Wednesday, Mieraili, a 26-year-old whose nationality has not been confirmed, went with authorities to a bench outside Bangkok’s Hua Lum Pong railway station.

The bench is where he allegedly delivered a backpack holding a pipe-bomb to a man in a yellow shirt, who was later seen on security camera footage leaving a backpack at the shrine moments before the explosion.

“He [Mieraili] said he carried a backpack, which, he believed, contained a bomb, to hand over to the yellow-shirted man. There was an arrangement for him to go to a specific location around Hua Lum Pong national railway terminal,” National Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri told a news conference in Bangkok.

Mieraili received instructions via WhatsApp to put the backpack on that bench, Prawut said. The alleged bomber brought him another backpack, then picked up the bag with the bomb and traveled to the shrine to plant it there.

As the two men parted, Mieraili headed toward the Pathumwanaram monastery near the shrine, the spokesman added.

On Tuesday, Mieraili, who was arrested Sept. 1 on the Thai-Cambodian border, went with police officials for “reenactments” at two apartments in the Bangkok area, where bomb-making materials were housed and suspected members of the group that carried out the bombing had stayed, according to police.

Fingerprints taken from Mieraili matched prints found on a bottle of explosives inside one of the apartments, police said.

The suspect has denied being involved in an attempted bombing that took place at the Sathorn ferry pier in Bangkok on Aug. 18, according to police. No one was hurt in that incident.

Plot ‘mastermind’ abroad

So far, the investigation has netted two suspects, Mieraili and a 28-year-old foreign man who was arrested in Nongjok district, a Bangkok suburb, on Aug. 29.

Another nine suspects are at-large, and all of them are believed to be foreign nationals, except for a 26-year-old Thai woman, whom police identified as Wanna Suansan.

Despite the extensive list of suspects, investigators have yet to comment on any suspected motive in the attack.

The plot’s alleged mastermind, whom police have identified as Abu Dustar Abdulrahman, or “Izan,” is believed to have fled to Bangladesh, according to regional news reports.

Izan’s possible whereabouts were confirmed through witness testimony and evidence, Asiaone quoted incoming Thai Police Chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda as saying.

"We have already asked Interpol to inform Bangladesh about the latest development concerning the mastermind behind the bomb blast at the Erawan Shrine," Chakthip said.

In Dhaka, Nazrul Islam, assistant inspector general of police, told BenarNews that Bangladeshi authorities were “not aware of any such request from Interpol or the Thai government.”

Interpol did not immediately respond to an emailed query from BenarNews.

In Bangkok, outgoing National Police Chief Gen. Somyos Poompanmuang declined to confirm the news reports about Izan’s whereabouts.

“This is not transnational terrorism – it is just violent attacks. They just wanted to instigate violence but they are in no way linked to any transnational terrorism groups,” Somyos told reporters.

Shahriar Sharif contributed to this report.

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