Southern Thailand rocked by bomb attacks

  • AseanPlus News
  • Monday, 21 Mar 2005

BANGKOK: At least 14 people including 10 security force members were wounded yesterday in two near simultaneous bomb blasts in southern Thailand, which has been rocked by an Islamic separatist insurgency, police said. 

The first bomb was detonated at 9.23am at a park in the capital of Yala province shortly after police searched a group of four young men. The explosion injured seven policemen and the four men, police said. 

Seven minutes later in neighbouring Narathiwat province, a bomb exploded outside an army checkpoint in Cho-ai Rong district, wounding three soldiers.  

“The bombing was an attack on officials as the area is one where the military officers gather for work,” a police officer said.  

KEEPING GUARD: A Thai soldier maintaining watch as his colleagues inspect a bomb blast site in Yala province Sunday where 11 people including seven policemen were injured.- Reuterspic

Investigations were launched into both attacks, and forensics experts were studying the scene to determine the type of bombs used. 

Police did not say whether there was a link between the two explosions. 

At least 630 people have been killed in the Muslim-majority south since January last year in what authorities describe as a separatist insurgency. 

Militants have largely targeted security forces but have also included teachers, state workers, civilians and Buddhist monks in their attacks. 

The Yala blast, which occurred near a railway line, came five days after a bomb exploded at a railroad crossing in the city, killing a police officer and seriously wounding three other people. 

Insurgents detonated a powerful car bomb on Feb 17 in the Narathiwat town of Sungai Golok along the Malaysian border, killing six and wounding 44. 

Violence in the south worsened this year ahead of the national election on Feb 6 that was resoundingly won by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. 

Thailand this month invited the head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim group, to visit in a bid to temper criticism from the Muslim world over its crackdown on Islamic insurgents. 

Malaysia currently chairs the organisation.– AFP  

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