A roadside bomb exploded in Thailand’s Deep South on Tuesday, killing a border police officer and wounding two people in what investigators believed was an attack by insurgents, officials said.
The attackers detonated a 10-kilogram (22-lb) improvised explosive device (IED) as six officers on three motorcycles were patrolling Ban Saikaew village in Bannang Sata, a district of Yala province, said Capt. Thamarat Paraperng, the district’s deputy police chief.
Another police officer and a civilian were wounded in the explosion. It was the sixth incident of violence this month in Thailand’s troubled southern border region.
Militants claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s bombing, which apparently was carried out in retaliation for the killings of two militants during a shootout in Saiburi, a district in neighboring Pattani province, earlier this month, Thamarat said.
“The attackers sprayed graffiti … to claim responsibility,” Thamarat told reporters, explaining that the insurgents spray-painted the word “Fatoni,” the Malay term for “Patani freedom fighter” on the asphalt road near the blast site.
“They ambushed in retaliation for the deaths of their two fellow insurgents in the Nov. 8 shootout,” he said.
The following week, at least two civilians died and two others were injured in three separate insurgency-related incidents in the Deep South, officials said. On Sunday, a nurse in Bannang Sata district was shot and seriously wounded.
Soldiers arrested the suspected gunman, Subree Jewae, a day later, officials said.
Police said Subree was believed to be a member of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (the National Revolutionary Front), a rebel group known by the local acronym BRN. They said Subree was under the command of insurgent leader Abdullah Tapoto, whose cell members were believed to be behind the bomb blast on Tuesday.
Abdullah was expected to launch bomb attacks after security officials received intelligence about his plans, Col. Suchart Sa-id, chief of the Betong district police station, told BenarNews.
Since 2004, almost 7,000 people have been killed in violence associated with the separatist insurgency in the predominantly Muslim and Malay-speaking Deep South.
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