Motorcycle bombs injure 12 in southern Thailand

April 10, 2018

BANGKOK (AP) — Three bombs that injured 12 people in a town on Thailand’s border with Malaysia were likely planted by Muslim insurgents, police said Tuesday.

Police Lt. Traipop Donprailao said the bombs, connected to timers and concealed in parked motorcycles, exploded Monday near a small restaurant, a karaoke bar and a hotel in Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province. Four of those injured in the attack remained hospitalized Tuesday, said one of his colleagues, police Cpl. Ratt Chanthachalee.

Sungai Kolok has been the target of previous attacks. Its nightlife, including prostitution, makes it a “sin city” for visitors from across the border in Malaysia, where such activities are prohibited as un-Islamic.

A low-level insurgency carried out by shadowy Muslim separatists in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani has left about 7,000 people dead since 2004. The three provinces are the only ones in predominantly Buddhist Thailand with Muslim majorities, who complain that they are often treated as second-class citizens.

A large military presence in the region has failed to quell the violence, which usually involves bombings and hit-and-run shootings, but occasionally includes coordinated attacks, usually causing more property damage than deaths.

On-again, off-again peace talks between the government and several separatist groups have failed to make much headway.