Thai Violence Kills 4

Posted September 17th, 2011 at 10:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The death toll from coordinated bomb blasts late Friday in violence-plagued southern Thailand climbed to four, after one of the more than 60 wounded victims died in hospital.

Local officials said Saturday three bombs went off in the southern province of Narathiwat just as residents and tourists were preparing for the evening and alleged that drug dealers could have been involved in the latest violence.

The blasts took place in a tourist hotel in border town of Sungai Kolok. Police said the bombs were hidden in a car and two motorcycles.

While Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist, Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani provinces bordering Malaysia are largely Muslim. The area has been wracked by a Muslim insurgency that escalated in 2004 and has taken the lives of more than 4,600 people — mostly civilians from both ethnic Thai Buddhist and Malay Muslim communities.

The three provinces remain under a state of emergency that enables the military and security forces, which have been accused of extrajudicial killings, to have wide powers.

Following the latest attacks, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered a senior police officer to the south to improve security. But government efforts to promote reconciliation with the insurgents have so far fallen short in ending the bloodshed.