BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – A massive airdrop of paper birds to promote peace failed to halt violence in Thailand’s restive south, with a spate of new attacks targeting soldiers and local officials erupting on Monday.
The bombings, shootings and arson attacks came hours after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the airdrop Sunday of nearly 100 million Japanese-style origami cranes over the predominantly Muslim region had achieved an “enormous, positive psychological effect” toward peace.
On Monday morning a seven-kilogram (15.4 pound) bomb was detonated remotely by a mobile phone at a rest-stop for patrolling soldiers. Four troops were wounded, one seriously, in Narathiwat province’s Ra-ngae district.
Another bomb exploded nearby hours later seriously injuring an assistant district chief as he parked his car. The official, Pricha Nuannuay, 38, went to the area to instruct security forces to carry out thorough searches for explosive devices, police said.
A third bomb found later in a garbage bin in the area was defused by police.
More than 540 people have died this year in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala _ the only Muslim-majority regions in Buddhist-dominated Thailand _ in violence blamed on Islamic separatists.