2 Bombs explode in Southern Thailand killing one Thai citizen, and injuring 30

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Damage is seen after a blast outside a hotel in the southern province of Pattani, Thailand August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom
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By Panarat Thepgumpanat and Aukkarapon Niyomyat

BANGKOK (Reuters) – One Thai person was killed and 30 wounded when two bombs exploded late on Tuesday near a hotel in the southern Thai coastal town of Pattani, police said, less than two weeks after a wave of unexplained bombings hit the south.

The first blast in a parking lot behind the Southern View Hotel caused no casualties, Police Lieutenant Colonel Winyu Tiamraj told Reuters on Wednesday. He said all the casualties were Thais.

“The second explosion came from a truck parked at the hotel entrance, opposite a karaoke bar and a massage parlour, resulting in one death and 30 injuries,” he said.

Colonel Yutthanam Petchmuang, a spokesman for the military’s Internal Security Operations Command, said the car used for the second bomb was a stolen hospital pick-up truck that had been mistaken for an ambulance.

The blasts came less than two weeks after a series of explosions targeting high-profile beach resorts hit seven Thai provinces in the south, killing four people and wounding dozens.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan quickly ruled out any link between those attacks and the latest bombings.

“I am sure that the incident in Pattani last night has nothing to do with the seven provinces attacks,” Prawit told reporters at Bangkok’s Government House, without giving any further details.

Tourism is one of the only growth sectors in Thailand, and accounts for 10 percent of an economy that has struggled under the stewardship of a military government that seized power two years ago.

No group has claimed responsibility for the wave of bombings on Aug. 11 and 12, but some security experts noted at the time that southern insurgent groups have a track record of carrying out coordinated bombing attacks.

Since 2004, a low-intensity but brutal war between government troops and insurgents has killed more than 6,500 people in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat that border Malaysia.

The three provinces soundly rejected a referendum earlier this month on the new military-backed constitution, which passed convincingly in most of the rest of the country.

Peace talks between the government and a handful of insurgent groups began in 2013 under the civilian government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but have stalled since the military overthrew her in 2014.

Prawit said the military government would not enter talks with separatist groups until there was peace in the region.

“It has to be peaceful first and then we can discuss,” Prawit told reporters.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said after his weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that there were “no quick fixes in the south”.

(Additional reporting by Cod Satrusayang and Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Lincoln Feast and Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Paul Tait)


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