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6 bombs explode in commercial district in restive southern Thailand, wounding 13

6 bombs explode in commercial district in restive southern Thailand, wounding 13

Domestic politics rather than Muslim insurgents may have been behind bombing attacks that injured at least 13 people in southern Thailand's tourist and commercial hub of Hat Yai, a senior police official said Monday.
Six bombs ripped through a key commercial district of the city late Sunday near two hotels, two pharmacies, a department store and a restaurant, police Lt. Pod Suansuwan said.
Scores of Malaysians, Singaporeans and Indonesians spend their weekends in Hat Yai, but police said all the injured were Thai nationals. Two of the wounded were reported in serious condition.
Thailand's Muslim-dominated south, including the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, has been wracked by violence in recent months. Citizens there have complained of rights abuses by soldiers and discrimination by the country's Buddhist majority.
Some attacks have also occurred in the province of Songkhla, which includes Hat Yai.
Last September, six homemade bombs exploded in Hat Yai, killing four people, including the first Westerner to die in the separatist insurgency.
But the police chief of Songkhla province, Maj. Gen. Paithoon Choochaiya, said politics may have been behind the most recent violence.
"So far we cannot rule out that the attack was linked to insurgents in the three southern provinces, but it is mostly likely linked to a political motive," he said, declining to elaborate.
"The way they planted the bombs shows the attackers did not mean to kill people but merely wanted to create confusion. The bombs were mostly planted far from where people were gathered in crowds," Paithoon said.
Political tensions have been brewing since the ouster of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup last September, with cases of arson and bombings blamed on die-hard followers of the ousted leader.
Authorities have sought to prevent violence Wednesday, when the Constitutional Court rules on whether Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai political party, as well as the opposition Democrat party, should be banned for alleged electoral violations during balloting last year.
Since a Muslim rebellion flared in early 2004, drive-by shootings and other attacks have killed more than 2,200 people in Thailand's restive south.


Updated : 2021-10-18 05:17 GMT+08:00