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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 07:30 GMT
Bombs follow Thai PM peace visit
Bombing in Narathiwat province
Violence has risen since the new prime minister was appointed
Three bombs have exploded in a predominantly-Muslim province in southern Thailand, killing one person and injuring about 30.

The attacks followed a visit and a call for peace on Thursday by the new Prime Minister, Surayud Chulanont.

Five soldiers were hurt in one roadside bombing in Narathiwat province. An hour later another roadside bomb and one in a tea shop killed one and injured 24.

More than 1,500 people have died in the restive south since January 2004.

The first bomb of about 15kg (33lb) and possibly hidden in a fire extinguisher exploded as a patrol of soldiers was passing. Two of the injured soldiers were said to be in critical condition.

VIOLENCE-HIT SOUTH
map
Home to most of Thailand's 4% Muslim minority
Muslim rebels fought the government up to the mid-1980s
Suspected militants have upped attacks since 2004, targeting Buddhists
Security forces' response criticised by rights groups

An hour later, a 5kg bomb went off in a tea shop followed five minutes later by a similar-sized roadside bomb that killed a street vendor.

Since coming to power following a coup in September, the army-appointed Mr Surayud has apologised for previous tough policies in the Muslim-majority, Malay-speaking region.

But the violence has increased since his appointment.

Bombs also exploded on 9 November, a day after his previous visit.

Brad Adams of the US-based Human Rights Watch said: "Insurgent groups are targeting civilians to show their power and highlight the Thai government's weakness."

The group called on the government to take concrete steps to rebuild trust in the region.




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