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Multiple bomb, arson attacks rock Thailand

Explosions and fires have ripped through at least 17 locations in southern Thailand in what appeared to be co-ordinated attacks that injured seven people.

The bombing and arson attacks happened after midnight and targeted convenience stores and a petrol station across three provinces, lightly injuring at least seven, according to police and military statements on Wednesday.

No one has claimed responsibility so far.

A decades-long, low-level insurgency has been carried out in provinces in southern Thailand along the border with Malaysia.

The Thai government is battling shadowy groups seeking independence for the predominantly Muslim provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla.

More than 7300 people have been killed in the conflict since 2004, according to the Deep South Watch group, which monitors the violence.

Peace talks that began in 2013 have faced repeated disruptions.

Wednesday’s attacks came after the Thai government earlier this year restarted discussions with the main insurgent group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The Patani United Liberation Organisation (PULO), which was sidelined from the latest round of talks, carried out bombings during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, claiming the dialogue is not inclusive. The government has said it is ready to talk to all groups.

The organisation’s leader, Kasturi Makhota, told Reuters Wednesday’s attacks have “nothing to do with PULO”.

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