Six people have been killed and at least 20 injured in an explosion in the southern Thai province of Pattani. Reports say that the blast was caused by a bomb left in a motorbike outside a busy restaurant. The bombers are believed to be among the dead.
The attack is one of the deadliest in recent months in Thailand’s four Muslim-majority southern states.
More than 2,500 people have been killed since 2004 by separatists who want to establish an Islamic state.
Witnesses say that two men died at the scene and four other people died in hospital.
Army spokesman Col Akara Thiprote told the Associated Press that the bombers were believed to have been killed in the blast. “We suspect that the bomb went off in front of the restaurant before they intended it to,” he said.
The attack occurred the day before the Thai king celebrates his 80th birthday, although the events are not believed to be linked.
In his annual birthday speech, the much-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej called for national unity but did not refer to the troubled south.
Thailand’s Muslims often complain of discrimination and a lack of opportunities in the country.
Insurgents have launched almost daily attacks in the southern states, mostly against Buddhists. Humanitarian groups have called for greater protection for civilians.