News / Asia

Insurgent Bombings in Southern Thailand Target Local Economy

Rescue workers extinguish a fire at the site of a bomb blast in southern Thailand's Yala province, April 6, 2014.
Rescue workers extinguish a fire at the site of a bomb blast in southern Thailand's Yala province, April 6, 2014.
Ron Corben
In Thailand’s volatile south, a series of suspected insurgent bombings has killed one person and wounded more than 20 others. The attacks pose a challenge to the country’s politically deadlocked government and a new Thai army commander in the southern border region.
 
Thai police and security officials are examining local CCTV footage of images of several suspected insurgents who were filmed prior to a series of attacks in the southern border commercial town of Yala.
 
The powerful bombs, including a vehicle packed with 100 kilograms of explosives, triggered fires in the commercial heart of Yala township, some 1,000 kilometers south of Bangkok, Sunday and Monday.
 
Targets included a major household goods distribution warehouse. It was the first major attack since authorities adopted tighter security measures following a wave of bombings two years ago that killed as many as 10 people and wounded scores more.
 
Noppong Theerawaon, chairman of the Yala Chamber of Commerce, said the attack appeared directed to undermine the local economy and create fear ahead of Thai national holidays.
 
Noppong said the attacks, which took place in broad daylight in the afternoon, were the most serious in a decade, with the damage bill running to over 200 million baht, about $6 million, as shops, warehouses and a furniture factory were engulfed in fire.
 
Thailand's southern border provinces have faced an escalation of violence since a long simmering insurgency rekindled in 2004 following the restructuring of security operations under then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
 
While Thailand is largely Buddhist, the southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani are mainly Muslim.
 
Over the past decade, the insurgency has claimed the lives of over 5,000 people, both Buddhist and Muslim, including state officials, Buddhist monks, teachers and Muslims accused of assisting Thai authorities. The killings have included beheadings and the burning of bodies. The Thai security forces have also faced charges of rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.
 
Panisara Matarvee, an English teacher at Kanarasdornbumroong School in Yala, said families are moving to nearby provinces or sending their children to Bangkok amid the safety concerns. She called on the government to do more to end the violence.
 
"They are afraid... We don't know what is the real reason for the situation, what do they [the insurgents] want from what they have done like this? We don't know. The government should pay more attention, more attention in the Southern provinces," said Panisara.
 
On Tuesday, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dispatched a deputy prime minister and police general to hold talks with security agencies in an effort to halt the rising violence.
 
Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political scientist and security analyst at Chulalongkorn University, said the attacks mark a test for the newly appointed regional army commander, General Walit Rojanapakdi.
 
"The attacks are designed to weaken the economic growth in the south. Of course the success in the attacks translates into the fear and terror among the general public. It is [also] challenging the new army chief. General Walit is new to the area and he's not from the South so this is a direct challenge to him. If it's not handled that properly there could be consequences for him," said Panitan.
 
Attempts at peace talks under the Yingluck government with groups representing umbrella insurgent organizations have stalled, in part due to Thailand's current political turmoil and protests in Bangkok. A new round of talks scheduled for last November was postponed indefinitely.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: zwe from: ny
April 22, 2014 10:01 AM
This article did not mention islamist terrorists were cowardly targeted to general population. My native country is Burma and my government cannot let this happen in my lovely country.

by: Larry from: Indonesia
April 10, 2014 6:23 AM
Jihad attacks on economic establishments are a common target, done to instill fear in the local people, and to make them more accommodating. Thailand is the number 2 country in the world with the most jihad attacks. By sheer numbers, India is number 1, and by ratio to the population, Israel is number 1. But in both cases, Thailand is number 2. It's sad...

by: Lanina Romanina from: Thailand
April 10, 2014 12:13 AM
How much the loss of the innocent and the sacrifices of the army. That's happened every day.

by: Praseut from: Thailand
April 09, 2014 6:17 PM
Yellow shirt VS Red shirt= Islamist extremist bang bang bang...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs