Thai south hit by fresh blasts
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”. –
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.