At least three people have been killed in southern Thailand after unknown militants launched a series of coordinated gun and bomb attacks in multiple locations. Three provinces – Songkhla, Narathiwat and Pattani –came under bombing, shooting, and arson on late Wednesday (2 November) evening.
No insurgent group has claimed responsibility so far but this is not the first time attacks in the mostly-Muslim areas is taking place. However, this has come at a time of Thailand mourning the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away last month after ruling the south-east Asian nation for more than seven decades.
A car showroom was targeted in Songkhla when two security guards were shot dead by the militants. "It was the work of insurgents who want to create unrest and destroy trust in the government," said Pramote Prom-in, a spokesman for the military's Internal Security Operations Command. A cash machine and petrol station were also bombed in the Songkhla's Thepa district.
In Pattani province, a group of armed men opened fire a police installation on a highway, prompting retaliation from the security forces. No casualties have been reported in this attack. Other minor skirmishes were also reported in the region. Local reports identify the attackers as Muslim insurgents.
"This attack shows that the insurgency situation in the south is isolated from what goes on in the rest of Thailand. Any request by the junta for a halt in the violence is unlikely to have any effect, Srisompop Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch, a group which monitors the conflict, told Reuters.
Thailand's ruling military junta attempted to hold talks with a loosely aligned alliance of insurgent groups in September, but it failed to yield any result. In August, the southern region of Thailand witnessed a string of explosions that killed four people.