May 10, 2006

Bomb kills three Buddhists in Thai Muslim south

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A bomb hidden in a motorcycle exploded
in a busy market in Thailand's restive Muslim south on
Wednesday, killing two Buddhist women and a soldier and
wounding 13 shoppers, police said.

Both women were teachers and one was three months pregnant,

police said. They said the soldier, also Buddhist, died on
the way to the hospital.

"The bomb was hidden in a motorcycle that was parked next
to a truck bringing soldiers to the market to buy their daily
stuff," police Colonel Somporn Meesuk told Reuters by telephone
from the scene in the province of Pattani.

The truck was parked in front of a small restaurant where
people were queuing up to buy food, he said.

Police still could not say how the bomb, which destroyed
three motorcycles, was detonated although militants often set
them off using mobile phones.

More than 1,300 people have been killed in two years of
separatist violence in the three Muslim-majority provinces of
Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

The government of overwhelmingly Buddhist Thailand has
tried many ways to end the violence and win the hearts and
minds of the 1.8 million people in the region bordering
Malaysia, ranging from brute force to promises of development

Yet militant attacks on security forces, officials and
ordinary people continue almost daily in the region where most
people speak a Malay dialect.

(SECURITY-THAILAND; Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan, editing
by Michael Battye; [email protected]; tel 662