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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More