Narathiwat province. Source: Wikimedia
More explosions have rocked southern Thailand, days after bomb and arson attacks struck several tourist resorts.
A bomb on Monday in Bacho district, Narathiwat province, targeted government troops on motorcycles.
“One soldier was seriously injured from a bomb buried under the road,” Police Captain Wiroge Boonkae told the media.
The Nation reported that a second bomb went off after investigators arrived at the scene although no injuries were reported.
Police said three more blasts hit adjacent Yala province, although no injuries were reported.
Last Thursday and Friday explosions killed four people and wounded 35 others, including holidaymakers.
The three southern Thai provinces, which were annexed a century ago, have been battered by 12 years of violence between the Buddhist-majority nation and ethnic-Malay Muslim insurgents seeking autonomy.
Near-daily shootings and roadside bombs in the so-called “restive south” have left more than 6,500 dead since 2004.
But the violence has largely been contained and not targeted adjacent tourist hotspots.
Last week’s attacks hit tourist destinations further north. Foreign visitors are rarely caught up in political violence and are infinitely more likely to die in road accidents or by misadventure.
Bangkok quickly dismissed suggestions that southern armed groups were behind the attacks instead blaming the so-called “red-shirt” movement, loyal to deposed prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra.
Shinawatra allies denied any involvement, accusing the junta of using the attacks to renew its crackdown against them.
Tourism accounts for at least 10 per cent of an economy the junta has struggled to revive.
“Sadly, people get used to violence. The media gets bored with it. The story becomes mundane,” said Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, an observer of the conflict.
Tourist destinations had largely been avoided because “they didn’t want to be seen as a terrorist group”, Rungrawee said. “But that could change if attacks like this prove effective,” she added.
Analysts say the latest violence bears striking similarities to the methods used by the separatist militants who normally limit attacks to the provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The conflict in the south ignited 12 years ago when the Thai authorities, under instructions from the ousted Thaksin, shot dead seven Muslims during an anti-government protest in Tak Bai in Narathiwat province, and arrested 78 others who were packed so tightly they suffocated to death.
The southern Muslims complain of discrimination, human-rights abuses and arbitrary arrests. The provinces in the south once belonged to a Malay sultanate until annexed by the Siamese in 1902.