BANGKOK: A motorcycle bomb killed three civilians and wounded 19 others on Monday morning at a market in Thailand´s insurgency-hit south, a policeman said, the first such attack in the Muslim-majority region for months.
A rebellion against Thai rule in the culturally distinct Thai “Deep South” bordering Malaysia has left nearly 7,000 dead — the majority civilians — since 2004.
The death toll in 2017 from the insurgency was the lowest in 13 years of conflict as peace talks edged forwards and the Thai junta boosted its security lockdown on the region.
Monday´s bomb at a morning market in Yala town popular with Buddhists and Muslims was the first deadly attack by suspected insurgents on a civilian target in months, suggesting a potential change in tactics.
“The suspects parked the motorcycle in front of a stall selling pork in downtown Yala… it detonated 10 minutes later killing three civilians and wounding 19 others,” the policeman said, requesting anonymity.
“It´s the first big attack in downtown Yala in two years and is quite serious because people died.”
Thailand, which colonised the ethnically Malay south roughly a century ago, has for decades been confronted by ethnic fighters seeking more autonomy, but the conflict flared up into its bloodiest phase in 2004.
Rights groups have accused both the insurgents and security forces of widespread human rights abuses.