PATTANI – Col. Panya Karawanan, Chief of Police in Saiburee, Pattani province, has reported that a remote-controlled bomb exploded early Saturday, injuring four police and two civilians, in the latest violence in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued south, police said.
“The bomb was hidden in a garbage bin,” Col. Panya Karawanan, said “It exploded when border patrol officers were walking nearby on their way to accompany Buddhist monks on their morning alms round.”
Pattani is one of three Muslim-majority provinces bordering Malaysia that have been troubled by violence since a Muslim insurgency reignited in 2004.
Police said the victims of the attack in Saiburee district were taken to a local hospital. Panya said he strongly suspected Muslim insurgents to be behind the attack.
The security forces, as well as Buddhist monks and government teachers, are regularly targeted by the militants.
On Mach 3rd Nine people were injured in three bombing incidents, Khokpo District deputy police chief Pol Lt. Col. Siriwat Panyachon-nawat said that all three incidents occurred in Mukim Tarua, Khokpo District.
Two people were injured in the first incident, which occurred at a motorcycle workshop in Jalan Ban Krok-Tarua at 11.55am.
Fifteen minutes later a bomb placed on a parked motorcycle about two kilometres from where the first incident happened went off, he said.
However, Panyachon-nawat said no one was injured in this incident and only the car the ADO was in suffered damage.
The third bomb blast injured seven people, four health workers, two rescuers and a policeman.
Since the end of February there has been a series of bomb blasts, causing a large number of injuries but no fatalities as government forces struggle to impose control.
The region was an independent sultanate until it was incorporated into Siam – the former name for Thailand – in an Anglo-Siamese agreement of 1909.
The government tried to impose Thai culture on the ethnic Malay majority, which sought political and cultural autonomy.
In the 1960s, when the Thai military regime tried to wrest control of Islamic schools, several Muslim groups launched a guerrilla war against the state.
The insurgency petered out towards the end of the 1980s but was renewed in January 2004 when a wave of attacks against the military, police and Buddhist monks rocked the region. Since then, more than 6,000 have been killed.
Following last May’s military coup, the junta announced its willingness to pursue a dialogue with the rebels that had been initiated by the previous government. However, there has been no solid progress and the rebels seem reluctant due to the exclusion of the issue of political autonomy from any talks.