World Bulletin / News Desk
A bomb explosion on a train has left one person dead and another injured in Thailand’s majority Muslim south, one day after peace talks between an umbrella organization claiming to represent rebels and a Thai junta delegation ended without reaching an agreement.
Police Col. Pramot Juichuay, deputy investigator at Khokpo district police station in Pattani province, told Anadolu Agency, “a remote-controlled bomb placed under the last carriage of the Sungai Kolok-Hat Yai train exploded when the train was crossing the railway station of Khokpo.”
He added that the blast “separated the last carriage from the rest of the train”, killing one railway employee and injuring another.
The incident came a day after a round of talks between Thailand’s military government and the Mara Patani rebel umbrella organization -- hosted in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia acting as facilitator -- ended without the signing of any deals regarding the insurgency-plagued south.
Gen. Aksara Kerdphol, the lead negotiator of the government delegation, said the talks could not finalize the “Terms of Reference” for further negotiations.
This meeting came amid concerns from local analysts that Mara Patani does not represent active groups operating on the ground.
Several bombings linked to separatist rebels and occurring ahead of the talks targeted resort towns and government offices last month, leaving four dead.
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 rebels 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, with over 7,000 persons killed and over 11,000 injured since 2004.