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Three reported dead in Thailand bombings

Published 18/02/2007

A series of bomb explosions rocked insurgency-plagued southern Thailand today, killing three people and wounding 53 others, amid power blackouts and telephone cuts.

In what were apparently co-ordinated attacks, suspected Muslim separatists struck in four provinces of the deep south, setting off at least 23 bombs, said Colonel Wichai Thongdaeng, a military spokesman.

Two people were killed and 33 injured, four of them seriously, in Yala province, while one person died and 20 were wounded in the popular tourist town of Narathiwat province, he said.

Two explosions tore through electricity transmitters in Pattani, causing blackouts in several areas of the province while two bombings were reported in Songkhla province.

More than 2,000 people have perished in the four provinces since the insurgency erupted in 2004, fuelled by decades of misrule by the central government in this predominantly Buddhist nation.

Police Major General Kokiat Wongworachart said areas of Pattani province, including its capital, suffered electricity blackouts and telephones at the city's police station could not be used.

Five bombs exploded in the frontier town of Sungai Kolok, a popular destination for Malaysian and Singaporean tourists, and at least two public schools in the province were torched.

Yala police chief Major General Phaitoon Chuchaiya said there were at least five explosions, including some at a karaoke bar and a wholesale fruit market.

Television station iTV reported at least eight bombs had gone off in Yala and at least 20 people had been hurt. The explosions occurred at three karaoke bars and two hotels, it said.

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