March 16, 2008 / 6:11 PM / 11 years ago

Bombs kill three, wound 21 in Thai Muslim south

(Updates with another bomb, casualties)

PATTANI, Thailand, March 16 (Reuters) - Bombs killed three men and wounded 21 people in three separate attacks in Thailand’s troubled Muslim far south, police said on Sunday.

A 20-kg (44-lb) remote-controlled bomb, hidden in a car near the entrance of a hotel in the city of Pattani, killed one man instantly and wounded 13 others on Saturday, police said.

Three were injured seriously in the blast which destroyed more than a dozen cars and damaged the front of the CS Pattani hotel where officials visiting from Bangkok often stay.

One of them died on Sunday, police said.

Pattani is one of three southern provinces where more than 2,500 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks since a separatist insurgency erupted in January 2004.

Hours after the hotel bombing, suspected militants used a mobile phone to detonate a 5-kg (11-lb) bomb at a Pattani school, killing a fire-fighter and wounding five others. The fire-fighters were trying to put out a fire at the school when the bomb went off.

As security forces rushed the wounded to hospital, they were ambushed by insurgents. One soldier was wounded seriously, police said.

On Sunday, a bomb wounded four people at a music CD shop in the city of Narathiwat, another of the three far south provinces which formed an independent sultanate until annexed by Thailand a century ago, police said.

The bomb was believed to be hidden in the shop by a suspected militant pretending to be a customer, they said.

Security personnel along with Buddhist monks and government school teachers are prime targets for militants in the region.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for attacks in the deep south, where most people speak a Malay dialect and where the government has stationed several thousand troops in a so far unsuccessful attempt to quell the unrest. (Reporting by Surapan Boonthanom; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Richard Williams)



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