An army spokesman said CCTV footage showed three Islamic militants opening fire on shops in Sai Buri town centre shortly after Friday prayers in the Muslim-majority region, to lure security forces to the scene, before detonating the bomb.
AFP (H/T Bleu) A complex insurgency calling for greater autonomy has plagued Thailand’s Muslim-majority far south near the border with Malaysia since 2004, claiming more than 5,300 lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near daily bomb or gun attacks.
The bomb, which sparked a fire that destroyed several shops, was meant as a warning to locals not to talk with security forces after nearly 100 suspected militants “surrendered” last week, according to Colonel Pramote Prom-in, an army spokesman in the south.
“The perpetrators are the hardcore devout Muslims and do not want a peaceful solution (to the conflict) so they wanted to terrorise residents not to take sides with government,” Pramote said. “We know who they are, they are the same group who incited other unrest incidents,” he said, adding security teams were hunting the suspects.
Analysts say the lattice of militant groups operating in the lush, forested three southernmost provinces are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to carry out co-ordinated assaults.
Dozens of members of Thailand’s security forces have been killed in recent weeks in ambushes and roadside bombs, while civilians perceived to have collaborated with Thai authorities are also routinely executed.
A series of car bombs killed 14 people and injured more than 500 in April in the deadliest attacks to hit the insurgency-torn far south of Thailand in recent years.