The government has ordered the governors of the troubled southern provinces to keep security at maximum level amid fears of attacks before the end of the Ramadan holy month on Sunday.
As the end of the fasting period draws near, Deputy Prime Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa said yesterday the governors of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces have been told to boost their vigilance as it might be an opportunity for insurgents to stage attacks in the restive region to mark the end of the event.
Gen Yutthasak, who is in charge of security, also dismissed rumours that the government had held negotiations with southern insurgent groups.
He said communications held between the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) and certain groups of insurgents in the past were "peace talks", not negotiations.
Informal talks between the SBPAC and rebel leaders had been conducted from time to time and the results of these talks were reported to security officials, said Gen Yutthasak.
In the far South, two districts of Pattani have been rocked by violence over the past two days.
A car bomb exploded about 1.30pm yesterday in the parking lot of the Panare district municipality office, damaging 11 cars, including three that were completely burnt out.
The office building was also damaged by the blast, but no injuries were reported.
Police said a pickup truck used in the car bomb had been stolen in Yala recently, and its owner killed.
Ten violent incidents were reported between Wednesday afternoon and the early hours of Thursday.
An unexploded bomb stuffed in a can was found by the side of a building in a village in Khok Pho district at 5pm on Wednesday. It was destroyed by a bomb disposal unit.
About 90 minutes later, Royali Hawae Keji, 51, a teacher at Sai Buri Islam Witthaya School, was shot dead by militants while returning home on a motorcycle on the Sai Buri-Panare road in Sai Buri district.
About 8pm, six incidents occurred at six different spots in Nong Chik district.
Three mobile telephone signal posts at three spots _ two in tambons Bang Khao and one in tambon Tuyong _ were set ablaze and damaged.
A fire broke out on a shelf at a 7-Eleven store in tambon Toyong, but was quickly put out causing little damage.
Some materials used for setting the fire were found.
Similar materials were also found at another 7-Eleven shop in tambon Bo Thong and were removed.
About 8.30pm, a bomb was found at Saeng Charoen fertiliser shop in Village No 6 of Khok Pho.
It was a time-bomb inside a can, similar to the one found earlier in the same district. It was destroyed by a police bomb team.
About 20 minutes after midnight, a fire was started at a petrol station in the same district. One pump was damaged.
Three power transformers in Khok Pho were attacked and damaged by gunmen, causing a blackout in the area.
Pattani deputy governor Lertkiat Wongphopun suspected the incidents could just be a prelude before insurgents launch an attack on the district town.
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Writer: Patsara Jikkham & Abdulloh Benjakat