Insurgents launch multiple attacks in Thai south, one dead

by Reuters
Monday, 12 May 2014 04:10 GMT

Rescue workers extinguish a fire at the site of a bomb blast in southern Thailand's Yala province, April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

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There are various shadowy rebel factions in the south and their main demand is for greater autonomy for their long-neglected region

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK, May 12 (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim separatists in southern Thailand launched a wave of more than 30 attacks on Monday including shootings, bombings and arson, police said, killing one person and injuring more than 10.

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist but parts of the south, in particular the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, are majority Muslim and decades-old resistance to central government rule resurfaced violently in 2004.

Paradorn Pattanathabutr, a security adviser to the prime minister, said the targets included a shopping mall, which was set on fire, and electricity pylons.

"One woman has died and more than ten others were injured. We believe the perpetrators are rebel Muslim groups trying to recruit more people for their cause," Paradorn told Reuters.

Police in Narathiwat province, close to Thailand's border with Malaysia, said bomb attacks were carried out at more than 10 locations and a Muslim woman was killed in one blast.

More than 5,700 people have been killed in the south since January 2004 and more than 40 have been killed this year. There are various shadowy rebel factions and their main demand is for greater autonomy for their long-neglected region.

The opening of peace talks with some of the rebels last year has done nothing to end the violence.

Meetings have been postponed and the talks appear to have stalled, with Thailand's caretaker government preoccupied with surviving protests against it in Bangkok. (Additional reporting by Surapan Boonthanom; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)

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