PATTANI – Police in southern Thailand were injured Saturday by an improvised bomb hidden inside a parked car exploded leaving seven officers and two civilians injured.
The attack in Pattani province was believed to have been carried out by Muslim insurgents who targeted the outpost used by special forces, said police Col. Keerati Waeyoosoh, the Pattani police superintendent.
Keerati said the bomb, made from a cylinder gas tank, was placed inside a car that had been stolen earlier Saturday from a tire shop whose owner was shot three times but survived. The car was then parked before it exploded outside a roadside restaurant adjacent to the police camp, which was destroyed by the blast.
More than 5,000 people have been killed since an insurgency erupted in 2004 in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, the only ones with Muslim majorities in the predominantly Buddhist country. Last year, the level of violence dropped, according to official figures, but peace talks have made little apparent progress.
The insurgents are known for drive-by shootings and bombs placed on parked motorcycles and cars.
Meanwhile, Thai security authorities quickly dismissed a claim Thursday by former prime ministerÂ Chavalit Yongchaiyudh that an Islamic State (IS) cell was active in the far South of Thailand.
Gen Chavalit said he was wondering if the government was aware that a group calling itself â€œBlack Swanâ€ which, according to him, is an IS affiliate, was establishing a presenceÂ in the deep South.
He was responding to a request to comment on security matters during a meeting Thursday with reporters.
Gen Chavalit also urged the government to launch a probe into the Black Swan group and improve the efficiency of its intelligence agency, saying conflicts in the deep South have changed. Read more