Bomb Wounds 13 in Thailand‘s South

June 18, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Ottawa Recorder

BANGKOK, Thailand - A bomb exploded at a busy teashop in southern Thailand on Monday, wounding 13 people, police said.

In Narathiwat province, two soldiers who were protecting teachers as they went to school in Tak Bai district were wounded by a bomb, police Lt. Jed Jaraenyaen said.

Military-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont acknowledged Monday that the situation in the south has deteriorated, citing a political crisis in Bangkok as one of the reasons for the intensifying violence in the region.

"It is a good opportunity for (the insurgents) during a political crisis to spread the violence and instability, especially to gain attention abroad," Surayud told a news conference.

The decision came after more than 50 schools were temporarily closed when two Buddhist teachers were killed June 11 in a daytime raid on a school in Sisakorn district of Narathiwat province. More than 200 students were there at the time. Another Buddhist teacher was killed in a drive-by shooting the same day.

The region is the only one with a Muslim majority in Buddhist-dominated Thailand. Southern Muslims have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens.