A series of bomb blasts have killed at least eight people and wounded at least 50 in Thailand’s main town in the southern area of Yala, according to military officials.
Conflicting accounts from officials on Saturday said that Saturday’s attacks involved both car bombs and bombs hidden on motorcycles.
“There were three bombs that exploded, the first is a car bomb and the second and third bombs were hidden in motorcycles,” said Colonel Pramote Promin, an army spokesman told the AFP news agency on Saturday.
Dethrat Simsiri, the region’s governor, said three explosions took place within a 100-metre radius over a period of 10 minutes in the commercial district of Yala municipality. Thai media reported that all three blasts were vehicle bombs.
Several shop houses near the blast sites were on fire and many parked cars and motorcycles were damaged by the powerful explosions.
A Yala city policeman said more than 50 people had been taken to hospital with injuries.
“The bombs went off about 10 minutes apart,” he said.
Thailand’s far southern area which borders Malaysia has experienced political instability since 2004, claiming thousands of lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near-daily bomb or gun attacks.
As of 2011, the Thai army had 60,000 forces stationed in the region to tackle the insurgency.
Rebels say they are fighting against a long history of perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims by governments in the Buddhist-majority nation.
Struggling to quell the unrest, authorities have imposed emergency rule in the Muslim-majority region, which rights campaigners say effectively gives the army legal immunity.
One of the region’s deadliest incidents occurred on October 25, 2004, when seven people were shot dead as security forces broke up a protest in the town of Tak Bai, and 78 more suffocated or were crushed to death in trucks while being transported to a detention centre.