Tagged: Thailand

Motorcycle bomb at pork stall in market in Thailand’s south kills three, wounds 22

(FOREIGN DESK NEWS) — A motorcycle bomb exploded in a market in Thailand’s southern Yala province on Monday, killing three people and wounding 22, a spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) said, the first such attack in the region in months.

The mostly Muslim provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala in Thailand’s far south are home to a long-running insurgency by ethnic Malay Muslims fighting for autonomy in which more than 6,000 people have been killed since 2004.

“The criminals put a bomb in a motorcycle and placed it next to a market cart. The force of the explosion caused three people to lose their lives,” said ISOC spokesman Pramote Prom-in. The ISOC is a government security force that operates in the region.

No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack on Monday, which took place at a morning market.

Police said the motorcycle was placed near a stall selling pork, which is strictly forbidden for Muslims under Islamic Law.

It was not immediately clear whether the bomb was placed at the pork stall in a deliberate attempt to target Thai Buddhists.

The stall’s female owner and a male customer were among the three people killed, police said. The bomb blew off chunks of the market’s corrugated tin roof and wrecked nearby stalls.

The southern provinces have seen hundreds of attacks since 2004, many of them deadly, but there had been fewer violent incidents of late.

Analysts who monitor the conflict say violence from the insurgency fell to an historic low in 2017 despite the fact that talks aimed at bringing peace gained little traction.

Thailand’s military government has tried to revive talks with rebel groups initiated by the previous civilian government, but they have gone almost nowhere.

Resistance to Buddhist rule from Bangkok has existed for decades in the predominantly Muslim southern provinces, waning briefly in the 1990s before resurfacing violently in 2004.

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Thailand: Some 235 people died in 2017 as bloody Islamic insurgency continues in Muslim-majority southern provinces

(CREEPING SHARIA) — The death toll this year from an insurgency in Thailand’s Muslim-majority southern provinces was the lowest since the conflict began 13 years ago, monitors said Wednesday, as security improves under the ruling junta.

Thailand’s southernmost provinces abutting Malaysia have been in the grip of a low-level but bloody insurgency since 2004 and nearly 7,000 people have died.

The majority of the victims are civilians — both Muslim and Buddhist — caught up in near-daily bomb attacks and shootings.

Some 235 people died in 2017 as a result of clashes between the Muslim-Malay insurgents and Thai troops and police, according to figures collected by conflict analysts Deep South Watch.

That compares to 309 in 2016, continuing a downward trend since 2014 and a sharp drop on the peak of 892 deaths in 2007.

“We have seen the incidents going down for the past three years. And this year’s death toll is the lowest ever if no significant incidents happen in the coming days,” a Deep South Watch spokeswoman told AFP.

Thailand, which colonized the culturally distinct south roughly a century ago, has for decades been confronted by ethnic Malay fighters seeking more autonomy, but the conflict flared up into its bloodiest phase in 2004.

Rights groups have accused both the insurgents and security forces of widespread human rights abuses.

The junta which seized power in 2014 has continued peace talks but they appear to have made little headway.

Discussions to set up so-called “safety zones” have been held with an umbrella group that claims to represent the rebels, but no agreement has been made public.

Deep South Watch said the reduced death toll may be linked to continuing talks and government development schemes.

Don Pathan, a Thailand-based independent analyst, speculated the reduction was likely a combination of factors, including more government informants on the ground, a tighter security operation and more targeted strikes by insurgents.

“The bombs are bigger and more intense,” he said, adding that militants were essentially being told to “make it count” and be more careful to avoid collateral damage.

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