1 killed, 8 injured in Thai blast

2012-02-09 09:04
Pattani - A bomb explosion on Thursday outside a government health office in Thailand's violence-wracked Pattani city killed one civilian and injured eight others, authorities said.

The bomb went off outside the Pattani Health Centre, 700km south of Bangkok, when government workers were entering the building.

"This act of violence was probably linked to the deaths of the four civilians in Nong Chik," said Major General Akarra Thiproj, spokesperson of the Southern Peace-Keeping Command.

On January 29, paramilitary troops opened fire on a pickup truck carrying Thai Muslims back from a mosque in Nong Chik district, Pattani, killing four.

The troops originally claimed they were shot at first, but police investigations did not find any evidence that the occupants of the truck opened fire.

Thailand's three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala are the only majority-Muslim provinces in the predominantly Buddhist nation.

The south has seen escalating violence since January 2004 when militants raided a military arms depot, after which the army launched a crackdown on the separatists, including an assault on a centuries-old mosque that antagonised locals.

The violence has claimed more than 5 243 lives over the past eight years.

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