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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 09:58 GMT
Thai violence hits phone networks
A Thai soldier and a volunteer put out a fire on a telephone tower in Yala province southern of Thailand, 19 January 2006.
Phone towers were hit across four southern provinces
Suspected Islamic militants set fire to dozens of mobile phone transmission towers in Thailand's four southern provinces on Wednesday night.

The co-ordinated attacks caused disruption to phone services, but no injuries were reported.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the attacks were in retaliation for government restrictions on the use of mobile phones in the region.

Officials are battling a long-running Muslim insurgency in Thailand's south.

More than 1,000 people have died since early 2004, mostly in isolated attacks on civilians or security personnel.

But occasionally more co-ordinated attacks have been orchestrated.

"Last night's attacks aimed to incite more unrest and to show that the militants are still capable" of staging co-ordinated raids, Mr Thaksin told the French news agency AFP.

"The attacks may have been to retaliate against government registration of SIM cards, because now they cannot use mobile phones to detonate bombs," he said.

The militants are thought to have thrown petrol bombs at both mobile phone towers and phone booths.


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