Attacks in southern Thailand kill 5, injure 13

AP News
Posted: Oct 19, 2013 11:15 AM

HAT YAI, Thailand (AP) — A spate of bombings and drive-by shootings Saturday in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south left five people dead and 13 injured, police said. The injured included eight soldiers and five journalists.

In the day's first attack, a bomb went off on a road in Ra-ngae district in Narathiwat province, injuring six soldiers who were on foot patrol, said police Col. Jiradet Phrasawang. Three of the soldiers were in serious condition.

The second bomb exploded an hour later about 100 meters (328 feet) from the first blast as a bomb squad and journalists were arriving at the scene, Jiradet said.

Two Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers were hurt in the second blast, and five journalists — a Thai photographer for the French news agency Agence France-Presse and two reporters from Thai television stations — were slightly wounded, Jiradet said.

The AFP photographer was identified as 44-year-old Madaree Tohlala.

Jiradet said Islamic insurgents were suspected of carrying out the bombings.

Later in the day in the same province, suspected insurgents staged drive-by shootings, killing four villagers riding on motorcycles, said Jiradet and other police officials.

Another attack occurred in Pattani province, where suspected insurgents on motorcycles fatally shot a 35-year-old farmer on a roadside in Panarae district, said police Col. Manit Yimsaai.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in predominantly Buddhist Thailand's three Muslim-dominated southernmost provinces since an Islamic insurgency erupted in 2004.

The regular attacks in the sub-region, with security officers as one of the main targets, are seen as a hindrance to the Thai government's attempt to revive peace talks with the Muslim militants after both sides signed a breakthrough deal in February, agreeing to hold discussions to ease nearly a decade of violence. New talks have repeatedly been postponed since insurgents in August accused the government of failing to respond to their demands.