Car bomb kills 1, wounds dozens

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A LARGE car bomb blew up out­side a ho­tel in Thai­land’s in­sur­gen­cy­plagued south­ern re­gion on Au­gust 23, killing one and wound­ing more than 30 peo­ple, some of them crit­i­cally, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

The lat­est blast struck be­fore mid­night on the out­skirts of Pat­tani, one of three Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity south­ern prov­inces bat­tered by a long-run­ning and shad­owy in­sur­gency.

“So far there is one killed and more than 30 in­jured,” said Ma­jor Gen­eral Thanongsak Wang­supa, Pat­tani provin­cial po­lice com­man­der.

“The ho­tel build­ing was con­sid­er­ably dam­aged,” he said.

Pic­tures showed fires burn­ing on the road out­side the ho­tel’s shat­tered fa­cade, with po­lice pick­ing through the rub­ble. Nearby a car was de­stroyed, and karaoke bars, mas­sage par­lours and restau­rants were also dam­aged.

Pat­tani is not pop­u­lar with tourists, but an­a­lysts said the mil­i­tants were send­ing a mes­sage af­ter co­or­di­nated bomb and ar­son at­tacks that struck mul­ti­ple re­sort towns on Au­gust 11-12, leav­ing four dead and 37 in­jured, in­clud­ing Euro­peans.

Those at­tacks height­ened con­cerns the south­ern in­sur­gency may have spread north af­ter years of stalled peace talks – a the­ory the coun­try’s junta has down­played given the im­por­tance of tourism to the econ­omy.

The en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict hit by the car bomb is one of only a hand­ful in the south, of­fer­ing bars, a disco and pros­ti­tu­tion, said Don Pathan, a se­cu­rity an­a­lyst based in the re­gion.

“It’s the type of place that so­ci­ety around here frowns upon,” he said.

The south­ern rebels fo­cus most of their at­tacks on se­cu­rity of­fi­cers and sym­bols of the state, but they do oc­ca­sion­ally strike nightlife venues.

“The cam­paign against so­cial evil is not very high on the agenda of the in­sur­gents here. Their strat­egy ... is to make the area as un­govern­able as pos­si­ble,” Mr Pathan said. –

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