Thailand's Muslim south in shock after spate of bombings

The bombs exploded outside five convenience stores, two petrol stations and a hotel, officials in the region said. A bomb went off at an electricity station, cutting power in one district for up to 40 minutes

Thailand's Muslim south in shock after spate of bombings

World Bulletin/News Desk

Thailand’s Muslim south was in shock Sunday after a spate of almost simultaneous bombings killed three people and injured 63.

Pattani province’s police chief, General Pot Suaisuwan, told the Anadolu Agency on Sunday that 12 violent incidents had rocked the region Saturday.

While most of the bombs exploded in front of small convenience stores, as well as at a gas station, several grenades were also fired at a police booth and a navy boat. A gun battle took place near a provincial electricity office.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, authorities often attribute such incidents to a independence movement that resurfaced in 2004.

While the Thai military is preoccupied in Bangkok after having seized control of the country Thursday, fighters may have seen an opportunity to launch the series of attacks.

The region witnessed a marked increase in the number of violent incidents in May. Hat Yai - the region's largest city – was shaken by four bombs that injured eight people May 6. Five days later, a Muslim woman was killed in one of around 10 blasts in Narathiwat and Yala provinces.

Thailand's three Muslim-dominated southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have been wracked by fighting since Siam (the name of Thailand pre-1939) took control of what was then a Malay Sultanate following an Anglo-Siamese treaty in 1907.

The fighting became a full-blown civil war in the 1960s when the Bangkok government tried to control education in the region's Islamic schools. Almost 6,000 people have been killed and 10,700 others have been wounded.

In February 2013, for the first time, the Thai government began a dialogue process with representatives of the resistance, with Malaysia acting as a facilitator. But the talks were suspended in December when the political crisis in Bangkok intensified and the national assembly was dissolved.

Since Thursday’s coup, the military junta running the country has not given any indication that it would reactivate the dialogue.

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2014, 11:16
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