– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
Nine people, including three monks, were injured in a bomb attack by suspected insurgents in the Deep South province of Pattani recently.
The monks were collecting alms on Sai Charoen Pradit Road in Pattani City when a 3-kilogram bomb hidden in a plant pot on the sidewalk exploded
Also injured were three policemen guarding the monks and three elderly Buddhist men who were donating food to the clergymen.
Buddhist monks have often been targeted by militants, leading the authorities to assign police to guard them when they go on their daily alms rounds.
The attack followed a series of small bomb attacks in Pattani province at the weekend.
On Monday, a bomb exploded in a banana plantation in Yala province, blowing a 55-year-old man in two.
Yako Ya-ngo, who worked as a security volunteer, died instantly in the attack.
Almost 5,000 people have been killed in the three Deep South provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat since the long-standing insurgency flared up in 2004.
The three provinces used to comprise a Muslim sultanate until it was annexed by the Kingdom of Siam in 1909.
The shadowy insurgents waging war against the Thai state are believed to be fighting for autonomy for the provinces, though they have never officially released any demands.
United States President Barack Obama congratulated Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra for her election victory in a clear signal of support for her fledgling government.
Speaking to Mrs Yingluck on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, Mr Obama said he wanted to “extend congratulations to the prime minister” for an “inspirational election”, AFP reported.
The president’s words are likely to ruffle feathers among those opposed to Mrs Yingluck and the resurgent influence of her exiled brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinwatra.
The country has been riven by political divisions, since Mr Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in September 2006.
Mr Obama’s words will come as some comfort to Mrs Yingluck, who is under intense political pressure due to her alleged mishandling of this year’s flood disaster, which has claimed at least 600 lives.
— Phuket Gazette Editors