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Blast wounds 18 in S Thailand: police

Eighteen people, including a six-month-old baby, were injured in a bomb blast early at a busy market in south Thailand, where a separatist insurgency is raging.

world Updated: Jul 31, 2008 14:43 IST

Eighteen people, including a six-month-old baby, were injured in a bomb blast early on Thursday at a busy market in Thailand's Muslim south, where a separatist insurgency is raging, police said.

The bomb was hidden in a motorcycle and detonated with a mobile phone signal. The blast sent scraps of metal flying into the crowded market in downtown Narathiwat.

Eighteen people, including two soldiers and the baby, were hospitalised for treatment. Two were in serious condition, police added.

Witnesses told police that a teenager had parked the motorcycle at the market early on Thursday morning, and that the bombed exploded just as two soldiers walked by.

Despite televised claims of a ceasefire by self-proclaimed militant leaders two weeks ago, violence has continued across the region. Army leaders have rejected the ceasefire claim, saying the self-styled militant leaders have little connection to the fighting.

More than 3,300 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay sultanate until Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.