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Thai Deep South: Imam Killed, Eight Injured in Latest Violence

BenarNews Staff
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Maj. Gen. Chinawat Mandej, right, examines the site of a Sunday car bomb explosion on the road next to Ban Sungai Kolok school in Narathiwat, June 27, 2016.
Maj. Gen. Chinawat Mandej, right, examines the site of a Sunday car bomb explosion on the road next to Ban Sungai Kolok school in Narathiwat, June 27, 2016.

Updated at 11:37 a.m. ET on 2016-06-28

One person was shot dead and eight others were injured Sunday in a series of bomb explosions in Thailand’s restive Deep South, Thai security officials said Monday.

The latest round of violence brought to six the number of people killed in attacks that have injured at least 36 others across the predominantly Muslim region since the fasting month of Ramadan began on June 7, officials said.

Between Feb. 10 and the beginning of Ramadan at least 40 people have been killed amid a surge of violence in the Deep South, where more than 6,000 people have died since a separatist insurgency re-ignited in 2004.

A Thai army general Monday warned residents of the Deep South to watch out for more violence in the final days of the holy month, which lasts till the end of the first week of July.

“During the last 10 days of Ramadan before Eid-al-Fitr, perpetrators will take this time to step up their violence,” Maj. Gen. Chinawat Mandej, deputy commander of the 4th Army Region, which covers the Deep South, told reporters Monday.

Chinawat on Monday visited the site of a car-bombing that injured two police officers and four civilians a day earlier along a road next to the Ban Sungai Kolok school in Narathiwat province.

The perpetrators used a car that was involved in the bombing of a shopping center in Koh Samui, Surat Thani province, on April 10, 2015, Sungai Kolok Police Chief Kongat Suwannakham said.

The car was one of three vehicles linked to that incident, which injured seven people on the resort island of Koh Samui, but the car was not destroyed then. It was repainted and reused by suspected militants identified as Hasueming Puta and Sukeeman Kubaru.

The chief said he planned to issue an arrest warrant and request for extradition with Malaysian police, because the suspects had likely already fled to Malaysia.

160627-TH-bomber-620.jpgAmong other incidents reported on Sunday, two suspects on a motorcycle shot and killed Abdulloh Doh, the  imam of the Ban Kumang Mosque in Yaring district, Pattani province, according to police. And on Monday, another bomb blast injured a paramilitary member of a school security team in Pattani's Panarea district, police Maj. Pongsakorn Wanthong said.

Violent incidents plague the provinces along Thailand’s southern border where the insurgency has dragged on for decades. Police typically pin the blame on insurgents; notoriously elusive rebel groups neither claim nor deny responsibility for attacks.

People familiar with the region say criminal syndicates on the ground foster a climate of fear so they can operate with impunity. Military spokesman Col. Pramote Prom-in recently told BenarNews that only 5 percent of violence in the Deep South was linked to the insurgency.

Police released this image of suspects in a car bombing outside the Ban Sungai Kolok school, June 26, 2016. (CCTV photo/Sungai Kolok police)

An earlier version incorrectly reported that at least seven people were injured a series of attacks since Sunday.

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