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Thailand: Blast kills 1 Thai marine, injures 4 others in south

6th Aug 2015
Thailand: Blast kills 1 Thai marine, injures 4 others in south

By CS Thana

 

BANGKOK (AA): One Thai marine was killed and four others injured in a bombing Thursday morning in the insurgency-plagued south, an official confirmed.

A Narathiwat provincial police officer told Anadolu Agency that the improvised explosive device was planted along a highway route in front of a mosque by suspected insurgents who waited for the marines to pass on their scheduled patrol route before setting off the explosives.

The officer, who requested anonymity due to police policy on ongoing investigations, said the blast instantly killed one marine and seriously injured four more in Bacho district.

He added that police and soldiers have cordoned off the area and the highway to try and find the insurgents.

Bomb squads have also been called in as a precaution as more devices might be planted in the area.

The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between the Malay Muslims living in the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and some districts of Songhkla, and the Thai central state where Buddhism is de facto considered the national religion.

Armed groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools. The Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO) had been the dominant rebel group until it faded away in the middle of the 1990s.

In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement — composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) or National Revolutionary Front — re-emerged. Since then, the conflict has killed 6,400 people and injured over 11,000, making it one of the deadliest low-intensity conflict on the planet.

A peace dialogue had begun under the elected government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2013, but was suspended in December that year due to political tensions in Bangkok.

The May 22, 2014 coup against Yingluck’s government that brought the junta to power added more uncertainty to a possible peaceful solution to the conflict, despite the military expressing commitment to pursue talks.

Six rebel groups, including PULO and BRN, have recently set up a Consultative Council of Patani, under the name MARA Patani, in order to coordinate for eventual peace talks. But as noted by the International Crisis Group report, “BRN hardliners remain uncommitted”

 

[Photo: Yala residents walk past a city block taken out by a car bomb July 2014. One person died, four were seriously wounded and at least 10 people admitted to hospital for treatment after the attacks which authorities have blamed on Muslim separatist insurgents. Photographer: EKIP/Anadolu Agency]

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