Three were killed and 22 injured in a separate bombing and shooting in Thailand’s Deep South on Monday, the eve of the 12th anniversary of an infamous incident that helped inflame a separatist conflict.
A bomb explosion outside a noodle stall killed a woman and injured 21 other people at a market in Pattani province on Monday night, officials said. In the afternoon, two more were killed and a third person was injured in a shooting at a shop in another district in the province, according to authorities. Three girls and three boys were among those injured in the blast at a night market in Muang district.
“The bomber hid a … bomb at the noodle stall earlier and detonated it later,” Col. Pramote Prom-in, a spokesman for the forward office of Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4, told reporters.
“There were two suspects on a motorcycle parked in front of the noodle stall, pretending they were customers,” he said, adding that the suspects left a 44-pound bomb in the crowded eating area near the stall before they fled the scene.
The latest violence occurred ahead of the anniversary of Tak Bai incident, in which 85 detainees suffocated to death in a police truck after they were reportedly stacked inside it like logs, on Oct. 25, 2004. The detainees were arrested while protesting outside a police station in Tak Bai, a district in neighboring Narathiwat province.
Thai authorities in recent days have been warning of violence that could take place on or around the anniversary.
Monday’s violence brought to 14 the number of people who have been killed in a series of shootings and bombings in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim and Malay-speaking southern border region since early September.
Forty-four others were hurt in those incidents that occurred despite efforts by Thailand’s military government to re-open formal peace talks with southern rebels. More than 6,000 people have been killed during the past 12 years in violence associated with the rebellion.
The woman who was killed in Monday’s bombing was identified as Mrs. Somporn Kuntakaphan, 60. The 21 others who were injured were taken to Pattani Hospital.
“This noodle stall was bombed once about three to four years ago. We thought the reason the bombers [chose] this place was because it is always crowded with customers,” said a police officer who helped rescue injured people.
Damage from a bomb blast is shown at a night market in Muang district, Pattani province, Oct. 24, 2016. [BenarNews]
Earlier in the day, in Nong Chik district, a man and woman were killed and a woman was injured in a shooting at a shop in Tambon Khok Chan, Col. Thompong Petchpiroon, the local police chief, told reporters.
The case is being investigated to determine whether rebels or criminals carried out the attack, Thompong said.