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Car bomb explodes outside Thai supermarket


Thailand

Car bomb explodes outside Thai supermarket

Muslim militants fighting for a separate state in the south of predominantly Buddhist Thailand are suspected of carrying out a car-bomb attack outside a supermarket in the city of Pattani.

What are officials saying?

Deputy Police Chief Rewat Srichantub said Muslim insurgents are suspected of carrying out the attack.

The bomber is believed to have fled before the explosion, he added.

It is the first car bomb in Pattani since August.

Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit said the government condemned the bomb attack and considered it a grave violation of human rights.

What happened?

The blast destroyed the front of a Big-C supermarket, scattering debris over a wide area and sending a column of black smoke into the air.

Was anyone killed in the blast?

No.

However, officials say at least 60 people have been injured.

Most were discharged from hospital after being treated.

However 21 with more serious injuries have been kept in.

What is the background to the bombing?

A decades-old separatist insurgency in the largely ethnic Malay Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat had killed more than 6,500 people since 2004.

That is according to the independent monitoring group “Deep South Watch”.

Attacks in Thailand’s deep south, near the border with Muslim-majority Malaysia, have intensified this year.

Six army rangers were killed in an attack last month.

The government recently rejected a conditional offer for peace talks from one of the main insurgent groups, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional.

The group had demanded international mediation or observation.

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