Thai south hit by fresh blasts

The Myanmar Times - - World -

FRESH ex­plo­sions rocked Thai­land’s deep south, wound­ing one sol­dier on Au­gust 15, days af­ter a spate of bomb and ar­son at­tacks struck mul­ti­ple tourist re­sort towns.

Last week’s at­tacks have height­ened con­cerns Thai­land’s long-run­ning but lo­cal south­ern Is­lamist in­sur­gency may have spread af­ter years of stalled peace talks – a sug­ges­tion the king­dom’s junta has been keen and quick to deny.

A string of overnight at­tacks have high­lighted how the in­sur­gency con­tin­ues to rage in the three south­ern Mus­lim ma­jor­ity prov­inces bor­der­ing Malaysia.

“One sol­dier was se­ri­ously in­jured from a bomb buried un­der the road on Mon­day,” said Cap­tain Wiroge Boonkae from the Ba­cho po­lice sta­tion in Narathi­wat.

Po­lice said a fur­ther three blasts struck neigh­bour­ing Yala prov­ince, though no in­juries were re­ported.

The area, which was an­nexed a cen­tury ago by Thai­land, has been bat­tered by 12 years of vi­o­lence be­tween the Bud­dhist-ma­jor­ity state and Mus­lim rebels seek­ing greater au­ton­omy.

Near-daily shoot­ings and road­side bombs have left more than 6500 dead since 2004, most of them civil­ians.

But the vi­o­lence has largely re­mained lo­cal with mil­i­tants loathe to spark in­ter­na­tional out­rage by tar­get­ing Western tourists.

Last week’s at­tacks hit tourist re­sort towns fur­ther north – a highly un­usual as­sault in a coun­try where for­eign vis­i­tors are rarely caught up in po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence.

The at­tacks bore many hall­marks of the south­ern in­sur­gents, who never claim their op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing co­or­di­nated mul­ti­ple strikes and the type of de­vices used.

Four peo­ple died and scores were wounded, in­clud­ing many Euro­pean tourists.

No one has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the bomb­ing spree but Thai au­thor­i­ties have ruled out in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism and say the cul­prits are “lo­cal sabo­teurs”. –

Photo: AFP

Thai sol­diers watch a foren­sic unit in­spect­ing the scene of an at­tack fol­low­ing two road­side bomb blasts in the south­ern prov­ince of Narathi­wat on Au­gust 15.

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