Bomb at market in southern Thailand wounds 24 | world | Hindustan Times
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Bomb at market in southern Thailand wounds 24

world Updated: Oct 19, 2009 11:45 IST

Suspected Muslim insurgents detonated a bomb on Monday at an open-air market in insurgency-plagued southern Thailand, wounding 24 people, police said.

The homemade explosive was hidden on a motorcycle parked in front of the fresh food market in downtown Yala, said army spokesman Col Parinya Chaidilok.

Three soldiers patrolling the area were also wounded in the early morning blast, he said.

More than 3,700 people, both Muslims and Buddhists, have been killed in Thailand's three southernmost provinces since an Islamist insurgency flared in January 2004. The provinces - Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala are the only Muslim-majority areas in the predominantly Buddhist country.

Muslims in the region have long complained of discrimination by the central government. A massive security presence has failed to stop the violence. Militants target both Buddhists and Muslims working with the government, including soldiers, police and suspected informants.

They also stage attacks on civilians that are believed to be intended to scare the Buddhist community into fleeing. The insurgents have made no public pronouncements but are thought to be fighting for an independent Muslim state. The area used to be an Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century.