NARATHIWAT: A police officer was killed, and 31 other people were injured when a car bomb exploded at a block of police flats in Muang district of this southern border province on Tuesday afternoon.
Pol Col Jeffrey Salaimankul, the Muang police superintendent, said the attack occurred about 12.45pm.
A man covering his face and wearing clothing like a police uniform was seen driving a pickup with fake licence plates into the police flats compound on Suriya Pradit Road and parking it near the housing building.
He left, and soon afterwards the pickup exploded.
The explosion caused heavy damage to the flats and started a fire.
Pol Capt Suthirak Panthaniya, a deputy traffic police inspector, was killed. The bomb truck was parked close to his flat.
Thirty-one other people were injured - 12 policemen, one policewoman, 10 women civilians, five male civilians and three children. Some injured civilians were family members of police.
The compound was cordoned off to allow fire engines inside. The fire was put out in about 20 minutes.
"It was a car bomb. We are still clearing the area and the number of injured could increase," Pol Lt Col Niti Suksan, a deputy police superintendent, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The flat compound stands opposite Narasikhalai School. The school management said that everyone there was safe.
No-one had claimed responsibility. National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas immediately flew south to the bomb scene and ordered full assistance for affected people. Later he said that 43 people were injured in the bombing.
Provinces along the border with Malaysia have seen a decades-long, low-level insurgency, in which the Thai government has battled groups seeking independence for the predominantly Muslim provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla.
More than 7,300 people have been killed in the conflict since 2004, according to the Deep South Watch group, which monitors the violence. Peace talks that began in 2013 have faced repeated disruptions.