Bombings, shootings hit restive southern Thailand

AP News
Posted: Oct 30, 2011 1:42 PM
Bombings, shootings hit restive southern Thailand

Attackers believed to be Muslim insurgents killed four people and set off a string of homemade bombs Sunday in Thailand's restive south.

Suspected Islamic insurgents have recently been staging coordinated bombings in urban areas of the south, raising the profile of their attacks.

Police Col. Kwandee Chimplee said four suspected insurgents riding two motorcycles shot dead two men and a woman at a grocery store in the city of Narathiwat Sunday morning. Another man was shot dead in neighboring Songkhla province by gunmen on a pickup truck..

Suspected militants also detonated homemade bombs at 10 spots in five out of 13 districts in Narathiwat province as evening fell, causing property damage but no casualties, said police Maj. Gen. Chaitat Intanujit. The targets included grocery stores, shops and residences.

Last Tuesday, suspected Islamic militants detonated homemade bombs across the city of Yala in 23 spots that killed at least three people and wouded 44 people.

Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and parts of Songkla provinces are the only Muslim-dominated areas in Thailand. Nearly 5,000 people have been killed since an Islamist insurgency erupted in 2004.

Several years ago, the insurgents used to stage occasional hit-and-run raids in cities causing bedlam, but a massive military presence has curbed their ability to mount such assaults. The current attacks come as the government is fighting massive flooding in northern and central Thailand, tying up army resources for relief efforts.