Multiple bombing, arson and gun attacks in the deep South early Wednesday left a female teacher and two rangers dead in one of the biggest coordinated waves of suspected insurgent violence in years.
A bomb at this community bank in Yala province damaged or destroyed all five ATM machines, one of which was removed by the attacking insurgents. (Photo by Muhamad Ayub Pathan)
The government said the attacks in Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla were intended to mark the founding anniversaries of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) and Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo).
More than 40 attacks were reported across 17 districts of these four provinces.
Eleven attacks - six bombings, four arson incidents, and one tanker theft - were reported in five districts of Narathiwat, Pol Maj Gen Patthanawuth Angkhanawin, chief of the Narathiwat provincial police said.
In Yala, 11 ATM bomb attacks in Muang, Yaha and Bannang Sata districts were reported.
Suspected insurgents stole an empty tanker usually used for carrying water from Narathiwat's Rueso district and filled it with fuel.
They hosed the fuel onto a building at Ja Kwa police station in Yala's Raman district.
Police caught them in the act. The attackers fled before they could set fire to the oil-soaked building.
No one was injured in the attacks carried out in Narathiwat and Yala.
However, Wae-na Muno, a 55-year-old teacher at Ban Cho Keu Yae School in Pattani's Sai Buri district, was killed in a gun attack at the school dormitory in which she was living.
The shooting was immediately followed by an arson attack using a petrol bomb. Two other buildingsat the school were also damaged.
A total of 15 attacks were reported in six districts of Pattani including 12 ATM bombings, one bomb attack, one arson attack, and a combination of a petrol bomb attack and shooting.
In Songkhla, three ATM arson attacks, one each in Saba Yoi, Thepha and Na Thawi districts, took place. No one was hurt. In Cho Airong district of Narathiwat a roadside bomb blast in Ban Sala killed two rangers, identified as Sopien Kuemaesajehloh, 28, and Boonrub Petchnongchum, 34.
Three other rangers were injured.
The bombs went off as about 20 troops on an armoured truck passed by.
Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok, who is in charge of internal security, said the spate of attacks was intended as a show of the insurgency's combat potential, to mark the founding anniversaries of the BRN and the Pulo.
The BRN was created on Oct 10, 1963 and Pulo on Oct 11, 1968, he said.
Fourth Army commander Lt Gen Sakol Chuentrakul said the authorities were analysing camera footage to investigate reports that some bombers were dressed as women.