Fri, Dec 28, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Bombs damage statue at Thai beach

AP, SONGKHLA, Thailand

Two small bombs late on Wednesday exploded at a popular beach in southern Thailand, one of them damaging an iconic statue beloved by tourists, Songkhla Province police said.

Officers said they are looking into whether the bombs were related to a Muslim separatist insurgency that has wracked nearby provinces since 2004, taking almost 7,000 lives.

One of the explosions damaged the Golden Mermaid statue, which is an unofficial symbol of the province, police Lieutenant General Ronnasilp Phusara said, adding that the other took place about 300m away, near the beach’s Cat and Mouse sculpture.

A bomb squad discovered and destroyed three other explosive devices found near a trash area and under rocks near the Golden Mermaid statue, police said.

The insurgency has mostly affected the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, which have Muslim majorities in predominantly Buddhist Thailand.

Songkhla, with a substantial Muslim population, has generally been spared the violence, although its biggest city, Hat Yai, has suffered several bombings.

Although terrorism is not considered a major problem in Thailand, tourist spots have been sporadically targeted since 2006, when a series of bombs were set off in Bangkok at New Year’s Eve gatherings, killing three people and wounding more than three dozen.

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