Thailand's southern region hit by fresh blasts

Two soldiers reported wounded in Narathiwat province, days after a spate of bomb attacks struck tourist resort towns.

    Thailand's southern region hit by fresh blasts
    Thai authorities have increased security measures since last week's bombings [EPA]

    Fresh explosions have rocked Thailand's south, days after a spate of bomb and arson attacks struck multiple tourist resort towns.

    In one of the incidents, a bomb went off on Monday morning in Bacho district, Narathiwat province, targeting government troops in motorcycles.

    "One soldier was seriously injured from a bomb buried under the road," local police captain Wiroge Boonkae told AFP news agency.

    According to The Nation, a Bangkok-based newspaper, a second soldier was also wounded in the explosion.

    READ MORE: Will Thailand's new constitution lead to stability?

    The report also said that a second bomb went off after the arrival of investigators at the site. But there were no reported injuries in the second blast. 

    Police said a further three blasts struck the neighbouring Yala province, though no injuries were reported.

    The latest explosions happened just days after a series of bombings on Thursday and Friday, which killed four people and wounded 35 others, including tourists. 

    Thai investigators did not say, however, whether Monday's explosions were linked to last week's incidents. 

    The southern Thai region, which the country annexed a century ago, has been battered by 12 years of violence between the Buddhist-majority state and Muslim rebels seeking greater autonomy.

    Thai police close in on tourist attacks' suspects

    Near-daily shootings and roadside bombs in the area have left more than 6,500 dead since 2004, most of them civilians.

    But the violence has largely remained local.

    Last week's attacks hit tourist resort towns further north - a highly unusual assault in a country where foreign visitors are rarely caught up in political violence.

    No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing spree, but Thai authorities have ruled out foreign involvement and said the culprits are "local saboteurs".

    Officials also quickly dismissed suggestions that southern armed groups were behind the attacks.

    With southern armed groups ruled out by the military government, official suspicion has fallen on groups within the so-called "Red Shirt" movement, loyal to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

    The Red Shirts, however, have denied any suggestion of involvement, and accused the military government of using the bomb blasts to roll out a fresh crackdown against them.

    The bombings in top tourist destinations threaten a vital source of income for tropical Thailand.

    The sector accounts for at least 10 percent of an economy the military government has struggled to revive.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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