Coordinated bomb blasts hit Thailand's Muslim south

Spate of deadly coordinated explosions shake city in Muslim dominated southern Thailand; one person killed, 28 injured

Spate of deadly coordinated explosions shake city in Muslim dominated southern Thailand; one person killed, 28 injured

BANGKOK - A spate of deadly coordinated explosions rocked a city in Thailand's Muslim south on Sunday, reminding a government ensconced in five months of political crisis that a 10-year-long separatist insurgency continues.

 A spokesman for the southern military command told the Bangkok Post that four explosions had hit Yala, the capital of the province of the same name, late Sunday.

"One of the devices was hidden in a car which had been stolen a long time ago,” Colonel Pramote Prom-in added.

A Yala hospital spokesperson said that one person was killed and 28 injured in the blasts.

Thailand's three Muslim-dominated southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have been troubled by a Muslim insurgency since Siam (the name of Thailand before 1939) invaded what was then a Malay Sultanate following an Anglo-Siamese treaty in 1907.

The insurgency became a full-blown civil war in the 1960s when the Bangkok government tried to control education in the region's Islamic schools. 

In January 2004, a rejuvenated insurgency movement launched a series of attacks that shook up the Thai State. 

Since then bomb attacks, drive-by shootings and ambushes have happened on an almost daily basis.

Since the conflict restarted in 2004, almost 6,000 people – Buddhists and Muslims, military, teachers, civil servants and civilians – have been killed and 10,700 others have been wounded.

Despite the constant violence, car bombs have been a relatively seldom occurrence. But in the last few months, there has been an increase in violence  – a sign, according to analysts, that rebels are frustrated by the authorities' focus on Bangkok's political crisis, which started November. 

Last week three government officials – two of them women – were shot in an ambush. One woman’s body was found decapitated at a roadside. 

In February 2013, the Thai government began a dialogue with representatives of the insurgency, with Malaysia acting as a facilitator.

But since the dissolution of the National assembly by authorities under pressure of anti-government protesters on December 9, all dialogue has been suspended.

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