Bomb explosion kills 1, injures 2 near Phu Thap Boek

A minibus is parked on a road to Phu Thap Boek in Lom Kao district in Phetchabun on Sunday. The driver stopped the vehicle and walked to a roadside bush to urinate before he was killed by a bomb explosion.

PHETCHABUN: A minibus driver was killed and two female tourists wounded in a bomb explosion on Sunday morning.

The minibus, modified from a pick-up truck, was taking the tourists to Phu Thap Boek, the province's famous mountain resort in Lom Kao district. The incident occurred at about 9am when the driver stopped his vehicle on the road to Phu Thap Boek in tambon Wang Ban and walked to a roadside bush to urinate.

Without warning, a bomb exploded. The driver was killed instantly by shrapnel, and two female tourists were wounded. They were rushed to Lom Kao Hospital.

Wanchai Chayarom, the chief of Ban Thap Boek, said he believed the driver stepped on a landmine left over from the time of Communist insurgency. At times during the 1970s and 1980s, the mountainous areas of Phetchabun - including Phu Thap Boek - were a battlefield between the government forces and insurgents.

Despite the government's demining operations, some bombs may be still left unexploded, the chief said. He ruled out the possibility that the bomb explosion might stem from a personal or business conflict.

The area where the bomb exploded was later cordoned off by the military and police. Tourists were still allowed to travel up to Phu Thap Boek to see the natural beauty of valleys shrouded in fog.

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