Sun, Apr 01, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Bombs kill seven in south Thailand


Thai rescue workers help an injured fireman yesterday at the scene of a car bomb blast in Yala, Thailand.

Photo: AFP

Three bomb attacks killed seven people and wounded dozens yesterday in the main town in Thailand’s insurgency-hit far south, the military said.

The blasts hit the center of Yala around midday just minutes apart.

“Seven people are confirmed dead, more than 70 others were wounded in the Yala bomb blasts,” said Colonel Pramote Promin, spokesman for the southern army region.

“There were three bombs that exploded, the first is a car bomb and the second and third bombs were hidden in motorcycles,” the colonel said.

Several shop houses near the blast sites were on fire and many parked cars and motorcycles were damaged by the powerful explosions.

A Yala city policeman said that more than 50 wounded had been taken to hospital.

“The bombs went off about 10 minutes apart,” he said.

One policeman was wounded in a separate motorcycle bomb attack in Mae Lan district of neighboring Pattani province, police said.

A complex insurgency, without clearly stated aims, has plagued Thailand’s far south near the border with Malaysia since 2004, claiming thousands of lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near-daily bomb or gun attacks.

Struggling to quell the unrest, authorities have imposed emergency rule in the Muslim-majority region, which rights campaigners say effectively gives the army legal immunity.

The military last week admitted troops had shot dead four Muslim villagers on their way to a funeral due to a “misunderstanding” in late January after apparently fearing they were under attack.

One of the region’s deadliest incidents occurred on Oct. 25, 2004, when seven people were shot dead as security forces broke up a protest in the town of Tak Bai, and 78 more suffocated or were crushed to death in trucks while being transported to a detention center.

Rights groups have said the failure of Thai authorities to hold security forces to account over the deaths has fueled further violence and alienation in the southern region.

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