Car bombing kills schoolteacher in Thailand's Deep South

Woman was fatally injured while driving by when the bomb exploded outside apartment housing police in Yala province, officials said.
Mariyam Ahmad
Pattani, Thailand
Car bombing kills schoolteacher in Thailand's Deep South Thai Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong (in red shirt) visits the site of car-bombing in front of a police residence building in Bannang Sata, district of southern Thailand’s Yala province, June 30, 2024.
Handout/Bannang Sata Police Station

A civilian was killed and 21 other people were injured when a car-bomb exploded outside a police residential complex in Thailand’s troubled Deep South on Sunday, authorities said.

The person who died in the suspected attack by separatist insurgents in Yala province was identified as a woman who taught at a school in the area. The other 21 who were hurt in the blast in Bannang Sata district sustained non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

The explosion caused significant damage to flats housing police and surrounding buildings, they said.

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“The fatality was a female teacher from a local Islamic school in Bannang Sata district,” said Thai Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong, who visited the site of the bombing. “She was reportedly buying food to prepare meals for her students when the explosion occurred as she was driving past.”

The explosion occurred at about 10:10 a.m. (local time) by the police apartments in the district, according to Col. Ranon Surawit, superintendent of the Bannang Sata Police Station.

The assailants had parked a vehicle loaded with improvised explosives in front of the police residential building, said Col. Ekwarit Chobchuphon, spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Forward Command.

“Initially, one person was killed and 21 others were injured. All casualties have been transported to Bannang Sata Hospital for treatment,” he said. 

Firefighters were deployed to extinguish the flames from a resulting blaze, while security forces cordoned off the area to gather evidence and check for additional suspicious objects, Ekwarit said.

Tawee, the minister, went to the scene of the blast to inspect the damage. He noted that the explosion had ripped a hole in the residential building’s wall and scattered debris across the area.

Authorities said they were still gathering evidence but suspected that the bombing was carried out by insurgents or their supporters.

Thailand’s southern border region, whose population is predominantly Malay Muslim, has been home to a decades-old separatist rebellion. Thai police, soldiers and government officials are regular targets of roadside bombs and other attacks in this heavily militarized region along the border with Malaysia.

In November 2022, a police officer was killed and dozens of people were injured in a car-bombing that targeted a police housing complex in Narathiwat, another of the provinces in the Deep South. 

There have been more than 22,200 violent incidents in the border region since the insurgency reignited 20 years ago, resulting in more than 7,540 deaths and 14,000 injuries, according to Deep South Watch, a local think-tank.

Violence linked to the insurgency has persisted despite Malaysia-brokered direct peace talks that began in 2020 between Thailand and Barisan Nasional Revolusi (BRN), the largest and most powerful among the southern rebel groups and factions. 



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