Massive fire bomb kills a woman in Yala’s Bannang Sata. Explosion near police quarters injures 18. Area sealed off for investigation. Insurgent attack suspected amidst ongoing instability and economic stagnation in the South leading to further criminality which is rife.

A woman was killed on Sunday morning in the Bannang Sata of southern Yala province in a massive fire bomb explosion. In brief, a further 18 reported casualties were suffering only minor injuries. The area where the bomb exploded has been sealed off as a forensic examination takes place. The location is a building which houses police living quarters.

The area in the Bannang Sata district of Yala was sealed off immediately by responding security services. Certainly, the death of an unidentified woman was quickly confirmed. Her remains were seen in the inferno. (Source Thai Rath and Bannang Sata Police)

A devastatingly powerful explosion went off on Sunday morning after 10:30 a.m. in Thailand’s southern province of Yala. The explosion, which caused a firestorm, occurred in the southern district of Bannang Sata.

At this time, it is known that one woman died instantly in the explosion. She was burned to death in the flames. The force of the blast caused considerable damage in the built-up area of the district.

Bomb was concealed in a car park outside the building which was home to local police officers. The Police Station and local district office were nearby

It is understood that the bomb was concealed in a car parked outside a block of buildings used by Bannang Sata Police as residency quarters. The local police station and district office are just a few hundred yards from the blast site.

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The incident is believed to be another attack by Southern Muslim insurgents.

Housing blocks used by the police have certainly been a particular target for the insurgency. The movement is led by  Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). The latest attack comes despite ongoing talks with the insurgency leadership.

Undoubtedly, the target of the attack was government officials and police officers.

Area sealed off within minutes by security services

Within minutes of the blast, local police and military units had sealed off the area. Police Colonel Ranon Surawit, chief of Bannang Sata Police Station, said he was immediately briefed after the blast was heard. 

In addition, the local fire department mobilised firefighters and other security services such as the Special Task Force 30th Ranger Regiment.

At the scene, it is reported that 18 people were injured in addition to the woman who lost her life. Her body was later recovered from the charred wreckage of vehicles. Her identity has not yet been revealed.

The site was carefully controlled as security services feared additional devices may have been planted to be detonated. Such tactics have been used in similar insurgent attacks recently.

The Southern insurgency has been ongoing since 1948.

It dates back to the annexation of the Malay Pattani region, previously an autonomous sultanate, subsumed into the Kingdom of Siam in 1902.

However, previously, it remained a sultanate from 1786 up to that date, although controlled by Siam.

Fears of growing Islamic extremist influence as an extensive range of criminal groups benefit from continued economic and security instability in the region

There are muted fears that the insurgency may be fed by growing worldwide Islamic extremism. At the same time, local criminal groups linked with smuggling, benefit from both economic and security instability.

However, the insurgency has flared up since the early 2000s. There are thought to be a number of reasons for this.

One is that the instability in the region suits smuggling and clandestine networks involved in smuggling. In addition, and more disturbingly, there is evidence that Islamic extremism, which is growing worldwide, is finding its way into the South.

Meanwhile, the economic and security instability in the southern provinces provides a better environment for illegal gangs and enterprises to flourish.

Negotiations between the government and the insurgency hampered by Thai national politics, which will not countenance any form of devolved government

The policy of the present Thai ministry and successive governments has been to keep order in the region.

At the same time, efforts are being made to broker a peace deal with the insurgents. These efforts have been buffeted by internal factionalism on one hand and politics in Bangkok on the other.

At the same time, the insurgency itself and resentment toward governance from Bangkok have led to economic stagnation.

In particular, the area has been particularly decimated by Thailand’s illicit drugs epidemic. In turn, criminality in the region leads to enhanced corruption, which further impedes economic progress.

Conservative Thais and local parties are radically opposed to any question of autonomy for the southern provinces. Certainly, devolved government is out of the question.

In turn, this leaves Thai negotiators at talks, often hosted by Malaysia, limited in their ability to find a resolution to the simmering crisis.

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Further reading:

Motorcycle bomb blast seriously injures four in southern Narathiwat province in insurgency attack on town centre

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Pattani bombs put Thai security agencies on alert as they gear up for APEC Summit in Bangkok

Top insurgent leader suspected as behind Monday night’s large bomb attack on Pattani district

2 killed in 15-minute firefight between security forces and insurgents as Pattani siege is ended

Killer gang linked to murdered family holed up at a Pattani resort but refuse to surrender peacefully to task force