Part of “a higher frequency of attacks with a greater intensity of violence in recent months.” “Wounded troops shot dead after bomb in Thai south,” from Agence France-Presse, September 15:
Five soldiers were killed after suspected insurgents opened fire on those injured in a roadside bombing in Thailand’s restive deep south on Thursday, police said.
The blast targeted an army truck carrying six troops in Pattani province, one of three provinces in the Muslim-majority deep south where a seven-year rebellion has claimed thousands of lives.
Police said all five of the dead had suffered injuries in the explosion, but had also been shot in the head after apparently being dragged from the wreckage. One soldier remains in a critical condition.
Around 4,800 people have been killed in near-daily attacks since shadowy rebels launched an uprising in early 2004, according to the latest figures from Deep South Watch, an independent research group that monitors the conflict.
The organisation has said it has seen a higher frequency of attacks with a greater intensity of violence in recent months, with authorities and both Buddhist and Muslim civilians targeted.
Also on Thursday, police in the neighbouring province of Narathiwat said suspected militants had bombed and set fire to an empty, brand-new police station, just two weeks before it was due to open. No one was believed to have been hurt in the attack.
Explosives planted in a cooking-gas tank were detonated on the ground floor and a fire was lit, damaging walls and stairs, but police said they had not yet moved any furniture into the station, which was due to open on October 1.
“An attack on an unmanned station has never happened before,” said police colonel Apirak Sangkhao.
Police will now have to check whether the structure is safe before they move into the building.
The Thai government on Tuesday extended emergency rule in the region, which borders Malaysia.