Yala blasts kill 10
- Published: 31/03/2012 at 05:07 PM
- Online news:
Three bomb attacks minutes apart killed 10 people and wounded more than 100 on Saturday in the heart of Yala in the insurgency-hit far south.
The blasts took place within a 10-minute span near the Ruam Mitr intersection in the main business centre of Yala municipality around noon as families were out shopping, in the most deadly attack in five years in the Muslim-majority South.
A nurse in the emergency unit of Yala provincial hospital told AFP that there were nine dead and 112 wounded people had been admitted, but police later said the death toll had risen to 10.
The Public Health Ministry said 10 people were in critical condition with severe burns.
Officials inspect the wreckage of a car used in Saturday's bombings, which followed a smaller explosion triggered in a motorcycle as a diversion.
The first bomb was hidden in a motorcycle parked outside a karaoke shop, according to local media reports. Insurgents detonated the second and third bombs, which had been hidden in a motorcycle and a car, when the authorities rushed to check the first explosion.
Several shophouses near the blast sites caught fire and many parked cars and motorcycles were damaged by the powerful explosions. Bomb squad officers were seen inspecting the mangled car wreckage at the site of the car bomb as firefighters doused blazes nearby.
Yala Governor Dethrat Simsiri said that many of the injured were hit by the third bomb, hidden in a car, as they gathered at the scene.
Rescue workers helped bloodied victims and searched for other wounded people as smoke filled the street.
The Yala bombing was the worst attack in the Deep South since January last year, when nine people were killed by a bomb in a village in the same province.
The complex insurgency, without clearly stated aims, has plagued the far south near the border with Malaysia since 2004, claiming thousands of lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near-daily bomb or gun attacks.
Authorities have imposed emergency rule in the Muslim-majority region, which rights campaigners say effectively gives the army legal immunity.
The military last week admitted that troops had shot dead four Muslim villagers on their way to a funeral due to a "misunderstanding" in late January after apparently fearing they were under attack from militants.
One of the region's deadliest incidents occurred on Oct 25, 2004, when seven people were shot dead as security forces broke up a protest in the town of Tak Bai, and 78 more suffocated or were crushed to death in trucks while being transported to a detention centre.
Rights groups have said the failure of Bangkok-based authorities to hold security forces to account over the deaths has fuelled further violence and alienation in the region.
Elsewhere in the troubled provinces on Saturday, a policeman was injured by a bomb explosion at a food shop near Mae Lan police station in Pattani province, officers said.
The victim was admitted to Pattani hospital but his identity and details of his condition were not available. Police blamed separatist militants.
As well,a villager was killed in an ambush while walking home on a local road in Ban Khok Pan Ton in Pattani’s Mae Lan district late Friday night, reports said.
The victim was identified as Ama Wani, 34, a resident of Ban Khok Pan Ton. He was walking home with his four-year-old son on the local road in the village when gunmen hiding in a roadside forest sprayed bullets at him.
Ama was shot in the head and died on the spot. His son was unhurt.
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Writer: AFP and Online reporters