Roadside bomb kills policeman in restive Thailand’s south

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A roadside bomb blast killed one police officer and wounded three others in Thailand’s troubled deep south, authorities said Wednesday.

The attack happened on Tuesday night on the side of a road near an abandoned shop in Mai Kaen district, Pattani province, police captain Wasuwat Kongtuk said.

All four officers were taken to hospital for treatment, and one died of his injuries, he said.

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A low-level conflict has simmered in Thailand’s southernmost provinces since 2004, killing more than 7,000 people, as rebels in the Muslim-majority region battle for greater autonomy from the state.

Early on Wednesday morning, police were investigating the scene of the bomb blast.

Local media reported that the force of the explosion had pushed the police car into a power pole.

The southern region – heavily policed by Thai security forces – is culturally distinct from Buddhist-majority Thailand, which colonized the area bordering Malaysia over a century ago.

Last month, more than a dozen arson attacks and explosions targeted convenience stores at petrol stations in the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat – with seven people suffering minor injuries.

The COVID-19 pandemic had brought a lull in southern clashes between rebels and the military, but a six-day gun battle in October last year killed six people.

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