Car bomb hits Thailand’s troubled south, injures 51

The blasts in Pattani injured at least 40 people, according to local police. (Photo: Twitter@K5_Rescue)

PATTANI, Thailand: More than 50 people including children were injured on Tuesday (May 9) when a car bomb exploded outside a supermarket in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued south, police said, the largest attack for months on a civilian target there.

The Muslim-majority border region has seethed with violence for over a decade as ethnic Malay insurgents battle the Buddhist-majority state for more autonomy.

The latest attack hit the town of Pattani around 2.00pm with two bombs going off outside the Big C, a busy supermarket near the town centre.

The first device was packed inside a motorcycle in the car park, officers said, spreading panic among shoppers.

“The second blast was a car bomb,” Pattani police commander Major General Thanongsak Wangsupa told AFP.

Deputy national police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told reporters 51 people were injured by the blasts, four of them seriously.

Video posted by a witness on Twitter showed the second blast detonate in a large fireball, sending bystanders running for cover.

Police were at the scene and appeared to be encouraging people to move back when the second blast struck.

In heavy rain forensic officers started searching through the twisted remains of the car looking for clues, an AFP photographer said.

A large swathe of the supermarket storefront had been blown away, replaced by a twisted mess of charred metal.

“I heard a very loud explosion,” a resident who lives close to the supermarket told AFP, requesting anonymity. “Minutes after that, I heard the sirens of rescue cars and ambulances. I feel bad about it … it happened at a place where people go to buy things.”

Near-daily shootings and bomb attacks have claimed more than 6,800 lives since 2004, with both sides accused of rights abuses.

The simmering insurgency plays out far from Thailand’s popular tourist resorts and receives little international attention as a result.

The UN children’s agency condemned those behind the blasts for targeting an area where youngsters would be present.

“No child’s life should ever be put at risk in this way. This is wholly unacceptable,” said UNICEF’s Thailand representative Thomas Davin.

Talks between the Thai junta and an umbrella group claiming to represent the rebel foot-soldiers have staggered along for years without any result.

Thai negotiators do not believe their rebel interlocutors have the power to stop the violence.

The rebels want peace talks to include international observers, as well as discussions on devolving political power and on protecting their Malay-Muslim culture.

But shortly before Tuesday’s attack junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha reiterated his opposition to foreign involvement in solving the festering conflict.

“We must keep this issue away from the reach of the international arena,” he told reporters in Bangkok.

Source: AFP/CNA/hs/de

This entry was posted in Muslim majority Southern Thailand, Thailand - Thái Lan, Unrest in Southern Thailand and tagged , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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