South Thailand insurgents blamed for five bombs

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Friday, October 21, 2005

In the continuing unrest in the predominantly Muslim southern provinces of Thailand, insurgents have been blamed for the planting of five bombs during one day.

In Yala, at the provincial hall a remote-controlled bomb that had been attached to an official's car was detonated mid-morning. Pairin Chaimarn, a community development officer and owner of the car, was shocked to learn she had been sitting on a bomb. The governor ordered checks be carried out on all vehicles entering the provincial hall's parking area.

Another two bombs in the province were discovered. One under a policeman's car was noticed and handled by the bomb-squad.. Bomb-disposal experts reported that it had contained 5kg of home-made explosives. Only one hour later another device was discovered in the same district of the province. Residents reported it to border police who shot the device in an effort to disable it. It was confirmed that it contained explosives.

In Pattani province, a home-made device was left at the entrance to Yarang district's electricity office. It was found to contain fertilizer and iron rods, with a mobile phone, presumably for remote detonation.

The final bomb of the day detonated at a railway crossing booth in Pattani; nobody was injured by the blast.

Recent violence in the southern provinces of Thailand has a historical basis going back to the 16th century. Pattani, one of the northern sultinates on the Malay Peninsula, was at that time loosely governed by the Kingdom of Siam. The British colonial administration of Malaya formally recognised Siamese sovereignty in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, the sultinate was divided into the provinces Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala in 1933. Along with Songkhla Province, the region has had a recognisable separatist movement since some time in the 1930s, seeking to establish an independent state, Patani Darussalam (Patani, Land of Peace).