Car bomb kills 1, wounds dozens
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. –