YALA – Five Thai soldiers have been killed and another five wounded in two roadside attacks in the country’s southern provinces, police say.
In one of the attacks, anti-state fighters detonated a car bomb on a road in Raman district in Yala province as a truck carrying six soldiers passed by early on Sunday, Police Major Torphan Pusanthia said.
The fighters then opened fire on the soldiers, killing five of them, and took away the dead soldiers’ rifles, he said. One wounded soldier was rushed to a hospital.
The six soldiers were on their way to guard a group of local farmers on their way to work.
In the other attack, fighters set off a bomb on a road in Ra Ngae district in Narathiwat province and wounded four soldiers, Police Colonel Jiradet Phrasawang said.
He said the attackers hid an improvised bomb under the surface of the road and detonated it as a pickup truck carrying the soldiers passed by.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since religious hardliners launched an armed movement against the government in 2004.
Officials from security agencies are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss safety measures for the southernmost provinces.
Teachers, security officials and government representatives have all been targeted by the fighters, who have made no public announcement of their demands.
The area used to be an Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century.
Muslims in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and part of Songkhla provinces have long complained of discrimination by the Buddhist-dominated central government.