Suspected separatist rebels launched two bomb attacks in Thailand’s rebellious Muslim south, killing four people and wounding five, including a Muslim boy, police said on Wednesday November 7. Three members of a bomb squad were killed and one wounded when they went to check out what turned out to be a remote-controlled bomb on a bridge in Pattani, one of the provinces caught up in nearly four-years of insurgency.
In the nearby province of Yala, a roadside bomb killed an army captain, wounded two soldiers and a Muslim father with his 5-year-old son.
More than 2,600 people have been killed in the insurgency and attacks continued to rise in November, after surging in October following a relative lull the previous month during the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan, researcher Srisompob Jitpiromsri of Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani said.
On Tuesday, a powerful bomb hidden at a market food stall frequented by Buddhists wounded 22 people in Yala, capital of the province of the same name, while two Buddhist teachers were shot dead in an ambush in Narathiwat province on their way home.
The teacher deaths prompted 60 nearby schools to close until troops could provide more security, an Education Ministry official said.
The attacks took place as the army was rotating its 30,000-strong force in the Malay-speaking region, an independent sultanate until it was annexed by largely Buddhist Thailand a century ago.
Since July, security forces have launched almost daily raids on suspected insurgent hideouts in villages and towns and have detained dozens of people without charge.
Human rights groups are critical, saying detainees are exposed to potential abuses by the army, which is operating under martial law that grants soldiers immunity from prosecution.
Last week, three provincial courts ordered the army to free 86 Muslims detained without charge and put into a forced job training programme.
However, these people could not return home immediately as the southern army chief had ordered them banned from the far south until January, their lawyer said.