Bomb kills army ranger, wounds 5 others, in Thai south

By CS Thana

BANGKOK (AA) – An army ranger has been killed and five others wounded in a roadside bomb attack on Thursday morning in an area of southern Thailand wracked by a Muslim insurgency.

The attack occurred around 08.00 am (1:00 GMT) in Yala Province while the military personnel were on patrol.

Yala central Police Col. Paphonwat Chaitiyawaranan told Anadolu Agency that the remaining soldiers were rushed to a nearby hospital where they remain in intensive care.

He said that he suspects the attack was carried out by insurgents with the aim of destabilizing a government plan in the area to build houses for the poor.

The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between Malay Muslims living in the southern region and the Thai central state where Buddhism is considered the de-facto national religion.

Armed insurgent groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools, but the insurgency faded in the 1990s.

In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement — composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around an organization called the National Revolutionary Front, or BRN — emerged.

The confrontation is one of the deadliest low-intensity conflicts on the planet.