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Bombs, banners and a murder in the far South

A bomb-disposal soldier from the Anothai Task Force inspects a suspicious item placed on a bridge in Muang district in Yala yesterday. The item turned out to just be a powder bottle with electric wires. A banner, hung next to the suspicious item, carries

A bomb-disposal soldier from the Anothai Task Force inspects a suspicious item placed on a bridge in Muang district in Yala yesterday. The item turned out to just be a powder bottle with electric wires. A banner, hung next to the suspicious item, carries

A series of insurgency-related incidents took place yesterday in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, including a murder, a roadside bomb, the erection of banners with messages attacking authorities, fake bombs and the burning of tyres.

In Narathiwat's Bacho district, a squad of soldiers on foot patrol narrowly missed a bomb attack. Explosives Ordnance Disposal officials said later that the bomb - 10 kilograms of explosive in a metal box - was detonated via a mobile phone but missed the eight-man squad.

Later, a 42-year-old man was shot dead in front of his house by two attackers on a motorcycle in a drive-by shooting. Police believe insurgents may be behind the killing.

Meanwhile, in Yala, a 'dud' grenade was lobbed into an area where villagers were exercising on Thursday night. But the K-57 grenade did not go off because the person who threw it forgot to pull out a second safety lever, police said.

The person who lobbed the grenade was on the pillion seat of a motorcycle and wore a woman's hijab.

Police were monitoring the route they took, but had yet to locate the attackers. Security in the area had been heightened. Yala police chief Pol Maj-General Songkiat Wathakul said security in Thai Buddhist communities had also been boosted.

In another attack in Yala, a group of up to five insurgents ambushed a four-man Border Patrol Police team on three motorcycles. The attackers opened fire with automatic rifles at the police as they returned to the base but missed the target, officers based in Kabang district said.

In addition, cloth banners were put up in 17 locations in Yala and in six spots in Narathiwat, security officials said. The banners, carried messages in Malay attacking the government. Many said: "If Siam cannot govern itself, how can it rule the Malayu state?"

In Narathiwat, a fake bomb was placed near a similar banner, while in Pattani insurgents set fire to several tyres and hung banners at four locations. A fake bomb was also planted at another spot. Security officials were not able to inspect these locations for fear of being ambushed.

Most of the banners had been examined for DNA evidence as of press time.






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