31 Mar 2012 08:13
Source: Reuters // Reuters
YALA, Thailand, March 31 (Reuters) – Eight people died and at least 70 were injured in a series of bomb explosions on Saturday in Thailand’s Muslim south, the latest in a wave of violence blamed on separatists in a region bordering Malaysia, police and officials said.
Three bombs went off in the business area of the city of Yala around lunchtime, they said, adding the devices may have been placed in a car and a motorcycle.
The governor of Yala province told Thai television that many of the injured were hit by the third bomb, hidden in a car, as they gathered at the scene.
In a separate incident, there was an explosion at a hotel in Hat Yai district in Song Kha province but no deaths have been reported so far, Channel 3 television reported.
Later, a small bomb exploded in a food shop in Pattani province, police said.
More than 5,000 people have been killed since a shadowy, decades-old separatist rebellion resurfaced in January 2004 in Muslim-dominated Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces.
The region, which was part of an independent Malay Muslim sultanate until annexed by Thailand in 1909, has been plagued by almost daily bombings and shootings ever since and the military has made little progress in quelling the unrest. (Reporting by Surapan Boonthanom and Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Alan Raybould and Ed Lane)