HAT YAI, Thailand â€” Suspected Muslim insurgents set off dozens of bombs in southern Thailand, bringing down power lines and setting tires on fire to block roads. Security officials said there were no reports of deaths or injuries.
Most of the attacks occurred early Friday in Muslim-majority provinces in Buddhist-dominated Thailand’s deep south, where about 7,000 people have been killed in a separatist insurgency that flared in 2004. Thai media speculated the actions were in response to Thursday’s ratification of Thailand’s new constitution, but officials said they had no information connecting the events.
Military spokesman Pramote Prom-in said 52 electric poles were damaged by explosives in the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla, causing scattered minor blackouts. He said officials also discovered burnt tires and more explosives but reported no injuries or deaths.
On Monday, men with grenade launchers and other heavy weapons attacked a police checkpoint in Yala, injuring six officers. Three other attacks last week killed an army ranger and a policeman.
Don Pathan, a security analyst specializing in southern Thailand, said he believed Friday’s incidents were not related to the new constitution but were meant to discredit the security apparatus in response to a police shooting last week that killed two people whom friends said were unarmed. Police have said the two men in a pickup truck tried to escape a police checkpoint and began shooting at officers, who returned fire. They also said the two men were responsible for an attack in early March that killed an 8-year-old boy and three relatives.
The Associated Press