PATTANI : The Internal Security Operations Command's (Isoc) 4th Region has called for public unity in denouncing Tuesday's bomb attack on the replica Phaya Tani cannon.
All of society should use this incident as an opportunity to reject all kinds of violence in the deep South and reinforce their calls for peace in the Muslim-dominated region, Col Pramot Phrom-in, spokesman for Isoc's forward command, said.
The replica cannon _ which is a monument to the battles between Patani, which made the gun, and Siam (the old name for Thailand) about 200 years ago _ was badly damaged in the bomb attack.
The incident happened just nine days after the cannon was installed in front of the Krue Se mosque in tambon Tanyong Lulo of Pattani's Muang district on June 2.
In the week before the attack, the 6.8-metre replica had proved a popular tourist attraction, and vendors had begun to hope it might be a catalyst for improving the local economy.
But the bombing "destroyed the hope, opportunity and desire" of people to earn money from tourism, Col Pramot said.
Sirawi Walo, a Pattani tourism and sports official, said the attack had dealt a huge blow to tourism in the province.
The damaged cannon was taken to the Fine Arts Department's Office of Traditional Arts in Nakhon Pathom yesterday to be repaired.
Though most people have decried the attack, some Pattani residents questioned the motive for the cannon being installed at a religious site in the first place.
Some are also said to have questioned why the government spent almost 3 million baht on it.
They also want to know why it was pointed at Malaysia.
The original Phaya Tani cannon stands in front of the Ministry of Defence in Bangkok.
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- Writer: Abdulloh Benjakat