At least 28 bombs exploded Sunday in apparently coordinated attacks in parts of southern Thailand plagued by a Muslim insurgency, killing three people and wounding more than 50, the military said.
The bombings targeted hotels, karaoke bars, power grids and commercial sites in the country’s southernmost provinces, the only parts of predominantly Buddhist Thailand with Muslim majorities. Two public schools were torched.
Police said three Thais of Chinese descent were also gunned down in Pattani province in what was believed to be the act of insurgents. The killings occurred as the country’s Chinese community was celebrating the Lunar New Year Sunday.
Violence in the south has been escalating in recent months despite a major policy shift by the military-imposed government, which is trying to replace an earlier, iron-fisted approach in dealing with the rebels with a “hearts and minds” campaign.
More than 2,000 people have died in the provinces bordering Malaysia since the insurgency erupted in 2004, fueled by accusations of decades of misrule by the central government. The insurgents have not announced their goals, but they are believed to be fighting for a separate state imbued with radical Islamic ideology.