Thailand: Deep South Bombs Kill Soldier, Police Officer

Matahari Ismail and Mariyam Ahmad
Yala, Thailand
170914-TH-bomb-620.jpg A ranger stands near a pickup truck fired on by militants in Yala’s Yaha district, Sept. 14, 2017.

A Thai soldier and a police officer were killed and 26 others including civilians were injured in roadside bombings and shootings in the Deep South early on Thursday, security officials said.

The violence began around 1:30 a.m. when a bomb exploded next to a utility pole in Yala’s Kabang district. No one was injured and officials waited until daylight to send a crew to assess the damage.

Later, an explosive ordnance disposal team was dispatched to the scene. They were traveling through nearby Yaha district at around 9 a.m. when a second bomb exploded. As a security team rushed to the scene to aid those injured minutes earlier, another bomb exploded and militants began shooting at their vehicles.

“I believe the bombings were carried out by the insurgents,” Yaha Police Station chief Col. Tawat Sunthornpoj told reporters as he inspected the ambush scenes.

The soldier and police officer died after being taken to a hospital, according to officials with the regional military command, ISOC 4. Of the 26 people wounded, four were seriously injured, they said.

Officials did not give a breakdown of how many people were hurt in each attack.

The attacks took place only two days after government officials and members of MARA Patani, a panel representing rebel groups, met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss technical issues involved in establishing a proposed “safety zone” in a Deep South district.

The peace talk efforts seek to resolve the 13-year-old armed conflict that has killed nearly 7,000 people in Yala and its neighboring southern provinces, Pattani and Narathiwat.

In August, police in the Deep South killed a suspected insurgent after seven men stole pickup trucks from a used-car dealership, intending to convert into car bombs. The suspects also took four employees hostage, killing one and injuring another.

In May, insurgents set off two car bombs near the Big C department store in Pattani town, wounding more than 80 people.


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