Malaysian national day sees flag-associated bomb incidents in Thai border provinces

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NARATHWAT, Aug 31 – Suspicious objects were founded in four southern border provinces while in Narathiwat alone, they were founded at 43 locations and three Thai government personnel were wounded.

Most of suspicious objects were found to be real explosive devices, weighing from one to ten kilogrammes in gasoline cans, iron boxes and paper cartons. They were placed at 43 locations in Narathiwat’s 12 districts.

Bomb squads worked to defuse them in the pre-dawn hours, 3-5am Friday while bombs exploded in four districts, wounding three officials.

The latest incident occurred at about 8am when a grenade was thrown at the Provincial Electricity Authority branch office in Rangae district but no one was wounded.

Police believe that the series of disturbances were the work of ill –intentioned group on the anniversary of the establishment of the Bersatu, an insurgency group which is active in the southern border region.

In Yala, presumed insurgents left suspicious objects at several spots in Yala municipality, Bangnang Sata and Yaha districts. Tripod spikes were strewn on roads, damaging many vehicles.

In Yaha district, messages challenging the local authorities were left at three locations but no bombs were found.

In Pattani, bomb-like objects were hung on trees and electric poles along the road linking Pattani’s Khok Pho and Songkhla’s Thepha districts, causing disruption for travellers.Several schools in Pattani closed today for safety concerns as some suspicious objects were found near schools.

In Songkhla, suspicious objects were found at 15 sites in three districts, but most were only dummy bombs.

Security has been tightened in Hat Yai’s business district although no bombs were found.

Symbolic Malaysian flags were hung on trees and power poles at multiple locations in Pattani and Songkhla.

Some ethnic Malay Muslims in Thailand’s southernmost region have conducted an insurgency against the Thai authorities since 2004.