YALA, THAILAND: A car bomb exploded Sunday in the troubled southern province of Yala in Thailand injuring 17 people, including three officials, MCOT Online news reported.
The bomb exploded when a pickup truck carrying soldiers passed the scene, damaging 12 shophouses, 10 motorcycles and two pickup trucks, according to a preliminary police investigation. It is assumed that they were remote-controlled bombs weighing about 20 kilograms hidden in three small gas cylinders.
Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said that the attack may result from a recent arrest of suspected insurgents during a raid in a mountain range.
On Friday, two alleged members of a Muslim insurgent group were shot dead in two separate gunfights with local soldiers in restive Narathiwat, while three others including a police officer were gunned down in a single day. Additionally, a series of attacks took place in the region on the same day.
Claims that the deep South, a majority Muslim area including Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces, are gaining peace and stability have been met with new attacks. In January 2004, Muslim militants raided a military arms depot, killing five soldiers and making off with 350 semi-automatic rifles. Over 4,000 people have died and more than 7,000 others have been injured in the past 6 years since Thailand's army launched a series of attacks on the separatists.
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