Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thai Jihad

Bangkok - Two separate roadside bombs killed four police officers and three paramilitary soldiers in Thailand's restive south, officials said Saturday.

Four officers and two rangers were also wounded in the bomb attacks, the army's Terdsak Nangsanong told the German press agency dpa.

Militant separatists are suspected of detonating the roadside bombs, officials said. A similar attack in the Ramia district of Yala province on April 30 killed two paramilitary soldiers and wounded nine other rangers.

The first of Saturday's bombs went off in the Raman district, in Yala province, as a vehicle with paramilitary rangers drove past. Three were killed and two wounded in that attack, Terdsak said.

About 10 minutes later another roadside bomb was detonated in Kapor district, in the neighbouring Pattani province, as a vehicle with police drove past, killing four and wounding four, Terdsak said.

The provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, in Thailand's far south, for many years formed an independent Islamic sultanate.

The majority-Muslim region has witnessed escalating violence since January 2004, when militants raided a military arms depot, killing five soldiers and making off with 350 semi-automatic rifles.
After that raid, the army launched a crackdown on the separatists, including an assault on a centuries-old mosque that antagonized the local population. The violence has claimed more than 4,100 lives over the past seven years.
The region has been under emergency rule since 2004. This allows authorities to make arrests without charges, detain suspects for weeks and grants security forces some immunity from prosecution for actions carried out in the line of duty.

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