Bomb blasts in southern Thailand kill 3, injure dozens

September 17th, 2011 - 3:24 pm ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK, THAILAND (BNO NEWS) — Three people were killed on early Friday evening when three bombs exploded within minutes of each other in Thailand’s restive south, officials said. Dozens more were injured.

The first explosion happened at around 6:40 p.m. local time on Charoen Khet Road in the municipality of Sungai Kolok, located in the province of Narathiwat. According to reports, the explosive device was placed on a motorcycle, killing a member of the Teochew Association and injuring several others, including tourists.

Only fifteen minutes after the first explosion, and just 300 meters (984 feet) away, a second bomb from a parked motorcycle detonated in front of a bar near a junction leading to the Sungai Kolok branch office of ToT Plc. Among the injured were Thai nationals and Malaysian tourists due to shrapnel wounds.

Shortly after the two explosions, a car bomb placed near a food stand opposite of the municipality’s Merlin Hotel detonated, damaging several shops and properties and a wall of the hotel.

In addition to the first casualty, two others were also reported dead, among them a Malaysian tourist, but it was unclear which of the detonations caused their deaths. Among the injured was Sungai Kolok security chief Captain Theerapong Suwannawetch, commander of the 1922 task force.

As a result of the blasts, the downtown area of Sungai Kolok suffered a blackout as authorities blocked all mobile coverage to avoid further remote controlled detonations. Local authorities later arrested several suspects linked to the bomb explosions, but no further information was available.

Earlier on Friday, suspected militants shot dead two Muslims - identified as a police officer and a defense volunteer - and wounded three others during Friday prayers at the Anul Yakin mosque in Thailand’s southern Yala province, officials said.

According to reports, two men walked into the mosque and opened fire at the five victims before leaving the scene. Two of the victims died at the scene, while the three other persons who were wounded were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Separatist groups in the southern regions, which are for a majority Muslim, have brought constant and violent uprisings in the region for the past 6 years. Over 4,800 people have died and more than 7,000 others have been injured during this period.

On Thursday, five soldiers were killed and another was seriously injured during an ambush in Pattani province. Police said a roadside bomb targeted their military vehicle before militants opened fire at the soldiers, who were already injured from the blast.

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