Policeman killed, 60 wounded in Thai south

PATTANI, Thailand (BestGrowthStock) – A grenade followed by a car bombing killed a policeman and wounded 60 people in Thailand’s restive Muslim south on Wednesday, the latest attacks in a bloody six-year conflict.

Two assailants on a motorcycle threw an M-67 grenade at dozens of police officers while they gathered to listen to the national anthem at their station in Pattani province, police said. One was killed and 43 others wounded.

Minutes later, a 20 kg (44 lb) bomb hidden in a car exploded less than 50 meters away from the police station, wounding another 17 people and damaging more than 10 vehicles nearby, police said.

More than 4,000 people, Buddhists and Muslims, have been killed in six years of unrest in the largely Muslim, rubber-rich region bordering Malaysia.

Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces were part of an independent sultanate known as Patani until annexed in 1909 by predominantly Buddhist Thailand. Separatist tensions have simmered ever since.

The attackers often target people associated with the Thai state such as security forces, government officials and teachers.

No credible group has claimed responsibility for attacks in the region, where the majority of people speak a Malay dialect as their first language and have long complained of discrimination, especially in education and job opportunities.

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(Reporting by Surapan Boonthanom; Writing by Orathai Sriring and Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Martin Petty and Paul Tait)

Policeman killed, 60 wounded in Thai south