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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs