YALA – At least three people were killed and 18 others were injured in a blast in Thailand’s market on Monday, local media reported.
The blast took place in the capital city of Yala province located near the Thai-Malaysian border, according to Thai PBS broadcaster. According to preliminary data, the improvised explosive device was hidden in a motorbike parked near a kiosk with ready-to-eat food.
No separatist Muslim group operating in Thailand’s southern provinces — Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala — has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Yala province, one of Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, has been the scene of a years-long fight between the Thai army and Malay Muslims.
The three provinces are the only ones with Muslim majorities in the predominantly Buddhist country.
Previously these territories were part of the semi-independent Muslim sultanate Pattani, but at the beginning of the 20th century, as a result of a series of treaties between the kingdom of Siam (now Thailand) and British Malaya (now Malaysia), they became part of Siam (Thailand) with a predominantly Buddhist population. However, separatist movements have repeatedly arisen in this region populated by Muslim Malaysians.
The most recent surge in separatist sentiment with demands for broad autonomy for the region or its secession from Thailand began in 2004.