Authorities in southern Thailand have blamed separatist Islamic militants over a bomb that exploded outside a school in Yala, Thailand.
On Thursday morning, a roadside bomb exploded at a school in Bannang Sata district, injuring four ranger volunteers and two civilians.
Pol Col Sayutee Katae, chief of Bannang Sata police, said the bomb went off outside Ban Taopoon School in Ngor Kapo village about 11:25 am.
As an armored military patrol vehicle carrying 8 rangers and ranger volunteers passed the school, the bomb was set off.
Four army ranger volunteers were injured – Chartchai Nanthakornpreecha, Phutthipong Khongdaeng, Komin Saraphee, and Jarawat Jumpalee – as well as two civilian bystanders. The victims were all rushed to Bannang Sata Hospital.
Malay-Muslims targeted by Authorities
Police blamed separatist Islamic militants and are searching the area for insurgent cells related to the 5 pillars of Islam. Many schools have recently been spraypainted with Islamic quotes.
Throughout Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala, as well as four districts of Songkhla province, this insurgency of Malay-Muslims has persisted for more than half a century.
The majority of the population is Malay-Muslim, with the remainder Buddhist. The violence increased in 2004 and began to diminish in 2013. More than 7,200 people have been killed and 13,400 injured since 2004.
The insurgency has been fuelled by ethnoreligious tensions, socio-economic grievances, and repressive government policies as well as the desire for Patani (Thai Malay Muslims in these southern provinces and Songkhla districts) self-determination.
As of November 2013, there has been no agreement in southern Thailand’s official peace dialogue process (mediated by Malaysia).
As a result of continued violence, distrust on both sides, and the lack of a unified negotiating voice among insurgents, this has proved impossible.