Two die in bomb and gun attacks in southern Thailand

BANGKOK • A string of bomb and gun attacks killed two people in southern Thailand late yesterday and wounded three others, barely two weeks after a wave of coordinated attacks rocked the restive region.

The latest attacks, mostly with grenades, happened at around 7pm in the provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Songkhla, said the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), the Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand is mostly Buddhist but parts of the south are majority Muslim. Last night's attacks targeted security forces, including police and troops, and civilians too, a spokesman for the military said.

"This is the work of people who want to cause chaos. It looks like their intention wasn't to kill but to cause disorder," an ISOC spokesman, Colonel Yutthanam Petchmuang, told Reuters.

No group has yet claimed responsibility.

The multiple attacks come in the wake of a new military- backed Constitution which was signed into law on April 7, after it was overwhelmingly rejected by the three border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat during the ratification process last August.

Twenty-three cases of attacks, including arson and five small bomb blasts, were reported just one day after King Maha Vajiralongkorn endorsed the Charter. The incidents caused widespread blackouts in four southern provinces but no casualties were reported.

Under the new Constitution, the power of lawmakers will be curbed but the army's role in government will be boosted, even after the junta led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha steps down after expected polls late next year.

Thailand's southern provinces have been rocked by violence for more than a decade as Malay Muslim rebels battle government troops for more autonomy from the Buddhist-majority state.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'Two die in bomb and gun attacks in southern Thailand'. Print Edition | Subscribe