PATTANI – A series of blasts shook a town in the restive Thai south leaving three dead and 17 wounded, officials said Sunday, days after a major attack on a military base in the unrest-hit region.
Three bombs have exploded in the provincial town of Pattani since late Saturday, while police said four more devices had been defused, in the latest attacks to rock the Thai south, where thousands have died in a nine-year insurgency.
The National Security Council, said the incident was linked to Wednesday’s failed assault on a military base in neighbouring Narathiwat province that left 16 militants dead — one of the bloodiest incidents in the conflict.A soldier stands guard as students arrives at their school in Pattani province
“The militants want to show their power,” NSC secretary general Paradorn Pattanathabutr
A blast at around noon on Sunday in the centre of Pattani town killed a local security volunteer instantly, police said. Hospital staff said two defence volunteers later died of their wounds, while around 17 people, including civilians, were injured.
The attacks began with two fire bombs on Saturday night which damaged local shops.
Thailand’s southernmost provinces near the Malaysian border suffer almost daily gun and bomb attacks by shadowy insurgents fighting for greater autonomy.
More than 5,500 people, both Buddhist and Muslim, have been killed in the bloody conflict since early 2004.
Members of Thailand’s security forces and civilians accused of collaboration with the authorities are frequently targeted with ambushes and roadside bombs.
Wednesday’s attack saw the military repel an assault by scores of heavily-armed gunmen who stormed the Narathiwat army base.
The NSC’s Paradorn said suspected insurgents could go on to attack a third province in the violence-plagued region.
“They have to change their targets because of heightened security in the areas targeted earlier… Once they stop actions in Pattani, we have to be concerned about Yala. But there is tight security in all areas,” he said.