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Thailand’s south hit by 17 bomb attacks in span of hours, leaving 18 wounded



Thailand’s south hit by 17 bomb attacks in span of hours, leaving 18 wounded

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 May, 2015, 1:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 May, 2015, 4:24pm

Reuters in Bangkok


Thai rescue workers carry an injured man on a stretcher before taking him to a hospital, after a bomb attack in Muang district, Yala province. Photo: EPA

A string of bomb attacks by suspected Muslim insurgents injured 18 people in Thailand’s southern province of Yala, the army said today.

Fourteen bombs went off last night, followed by three more in the early hours today, said Colonel Pramote Prom-in, a regional security spokesman.

The latest explosions in the provincial capital of Muang Yala injured 18 people, five of whom still remain in hospital, added Pramote, who is attached to Thailand’s Region 4 Internal Security Operations Command.

“Altogether there were 17 explosions in Yala,” he said.

The explosions were meant as a message to the Thai state from the insurgents, Pramote said, adding, “These attacks were intended to provoke.”

The attacks were said to be in retaliation to recent measures to rein in separatist violence. More than 6,500 people, most of them civilians, have died in separatist violence in southern Thailand since 2004, when resistance to Buddhist rule flared up.

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist but parts of the south, particularly the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, are majority Muslim, and resistance to central government rule has existed there for decades.

The military government that has ruled Thailand since a coup last May says it has adopted new strategies, including DNA swabbing, to curb the insurgency and last month pointed to a drop of 50 per cent in attacks by Muslim Malay rebels in the restive region.

But lawyers and activists say the forced DNA sweeps are further alienating residents.