Thailand: Blast injures 7 Thai soldiers in Patani
BANGKOK (AA) – Seven Thai soldiers have been injured in an overnight bomb attack in an insurgency-plagued province in the Muslim south, local media reported Wednesday.
Seven soldiers were injured after a bomb planted near their base in Narathiwat went off while they were returning from a patrol just after midnight, according to the Bangkok Post.
The army said that the injuries sustained were “minor” and that all seven soldiers have been discharged from a local hospital.
The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between Malay Muslims — living in the provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and some districts of Songhkla — and the Thai central state where Buddhism is considered the de facto national religion.
Armed insurgent groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools, but the insurgency faded in the 1990s.
In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement — composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around the National Revolutionary Front — emerged.
Since then, the conflict has killed 6,400 people and injured more than 11,000, making it one of the deadliest low-intensity conflicts on the planet.
A peace dialogue was engaged by the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2013, but was suspended in December of that year due to political tensions in Bangkok.
The May 22, 2014 coup — which overthrew Shinawatra’s government and brought a junta to power — added more uncertainty to a possible peaceful solution to the conflict, even though the military are continuing the dialogue, the latest session of which was held in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 25.