Thailand Hit by 11 Explosions in Two Days

TERRORISM OR SOMETHING ELSE?

by Sharon Rondeau

Thailand underwent a military coup in September 2014 endorsed by the nation’s monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej

(Aug. 13, 2016) — On Friday the AFP news service reported that Thailand had suffered 11 explosions over the past two days which killed four people and wounded “many others.”

Those killed were reportedly Thai citizens, while about three dozen others, including ten tourists, were injured.

On Thursday, four blasts took place in relative close proximity in the south, while two more occurred in the popular tourist beach resort of Hua Hin farther north.

A longtime resident of Hua Hin described the two detonated bombs which had been hidden in potted plants.

A police deputy spokesman was quoted as having said that the bomb blasts do not constitute “a terrorist attack,” although The New York Times reported Thursday that “Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy prime minister in Thailand’s military-run government, said the attacks were ‘absolutely conducted by the same network.’”

Since at least 2004, the primarily-Buddhist nation has experienced a “Muslim insurgency” in five southern provinces which seeks to establish a separate country, according to USA Today.  In December 2014, the same source reported that Thailand was the target of “hundreds of bomb attacks each year” from “red light Jihadis” in “Southeast Asia’s bloodiest insurgency.”

Thailand is currently under military rule which Muslims in the south have claimed have brutalized their communities. In April 2012, Newsweek reported that “The conflict has been gaining steam over the past eight years, even as the international community pays little attention. Since 2004, drive-by shootings, IED bombings, and point-blank assassinations have claimed some 5,000 lives in the country’s three restive southernmost provinces that border Malaysia, making the insurgency one of the world’s deadliest.”

In September 2012, The National reported that attacks in which “separatist militants” using machine guns and car bombs had “become routine” in the southern province of Pattani, where a Muslim majority prevails.  The outlet characterized the conflict as “a war.”

Of the longstanding violence, The National wrote:

The violence has made southern Thailand the deadliest war zone in East Asia. And yet the conflict in the south has, for years, been almost invisible on the global stage, even though Thailand is a country woven into the world economy by trade and tourism. It is rarely covered in the media in the West or the Muslim world. It is all but ignored in policy circles in Washington, most Asian capitals, and even among many policymakers in Bangkok. And though some Muslims from southern Thailand have attempted to get international bodies to help address their grievances, including the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), they have been largely ignored.

On Friday, AFP reported that “Police are also investigating a spate of fires in several southern provinces that took place in the same period as the bombings.”

On August 7, the Thai people approved a new constitution which gives more power to the country’s military.

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