Bombs kill seven in Yala: military
Three bomb attacks killed seven people and wounded dozens more Saturday in the main town in Thailand's insurgency-hit far south, the military said.
Saturday 31 March 2012, 06:11PM
The blasts hit the centre of Yala around midday just minutes apart.
"Seven people are confirmed dead, more than 70 others were wounded in the Yala bomb blasts," Colonel Pramote Promin, spokesman for the southern army region, told AFP.
"There were three bombs that exploded, the first is a car bomb and the second and third bombs were hidden in motorcycles," the colonel said.
Several shop houses near the blast sites were on fire and many parked cars and motorcycles were damaged by the powerful explosions.
A Yala city policeman said more than 50 wounded had been taken to hospital.
"The bombs went off about 10 minutes apart," he said.
One policeman was wounded in a separate motorcycle bomb attack in Mae Lan district of neighbouring Pattani province, police said.
A complex insurgency, without clearly stated aims, has plagued Thailand's far south near the border with Malaysia since 2004, claiming thousands of lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near-daily bomb or gun attacks.
Struggling to quell the unrest, authorities have imposed emergency rule in the Muslim-majority region, which rights campaigners say effectively gives the army legal immunity.
The military last week admitted troops had shot dead four Muslim villagers on their way to a funeral due to a "misunderstanding" in late January after apparently fearing they were under attack from militants.
One of the region's deadliest incidents occurred on October 25, 2004, when seven people were shot dead as security forces broke up a protest in the town of Tak Bai, and 78 more suffocated or were crushed to death in trucks while being transported to a detention centre.
Rights groups have said the failure of Thai authorities to hold security forces to account over the deaths has fuelled further violence and alienation in the southern region.
The insurgents are not thought to be part of a global jihad movement but are instead rebelling against a long history of perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims by governments in the Buddhist-majority nation.