Bomb in Thai south wounds six day after landmark deal

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 01, 2013 4:05 AM
Bomb in Thai south wounds six day after landmark deal

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A motorcycle bomb wounded six people in southern Thailand on Friday, a day after a landmark agreement between the government and a Muslim rebel group to start talks aimed at ending a conflict that has claimed more than 5,000 lives since 2004.

No group claimed responsibility for the device, which exploded outside a market in Narathiwat province. It was followed by a car bomb explosion in front of a police station in Narathiwat but no one was injured in that attack.

On Thursday, in a deal brought about with the help of Malaysia, Thailand agreed to pursue a peace talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), one of the Muslim groups fighting for autonomy in the south.

Initial talks between Thailand and the BRN will start in two weeks, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said after a meeting with his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra. There was no word on whether the agreement would be followed by a ceasefire.

Various shadowy rebel groups are active in the south and analysts had said it was far from clear that all would accept the idea of peace talks.

Resistance to Buddhist rule from Bangkok has existed for decades in the predominantly Muslim provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, which were part of a Malay sultanate before being annexed by Thailand in 1909.

The conflict waned in the 1990s before resurfacing violently in 2004. Since then, 5,300 people have been killed according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the violence.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Alan Raybould)