Unexpected car bomb on tourist island in southern Thailand injured seven

April 11, 2015 9:27 pm

An unexpected car bomb exploded at a shopping mall on a Thai island popular with
foreign tourists for its pristine beaches, injuring seven people,
officials said on Saturday.
The improvised bomb was hidden in a
pickup truck and went off late Friday night on the basement level of the
shopping Central Festival mall on Samui Island in Surat Thani province,
after a fashion show, the island’s disaster prevention and mitigation
chief Poonsak Sophonpathumrak told The Associated Press.

Central World shopping mall. Photo / Getty Images
He said
authorities believed the vehicle was stolen from one of the three
southernmost Thai provinces plagued by violence. More than 5,000 people
have been killed since an Islamic insurgency began in the sub-region in
2004.
Muslims in the area, which was an independent Islamic
sultanate until it was annexed by in the early 20th century,
have long complained of discrimination, and the insurgents are thought
to be fighting for autonomy.

The militants, however, have made no public pronouncements about their aims.
Poonsak
said the bomb had destroyed most of the pickup truck and damaged a few
other vehicles that were parked nearby at the mall, which was located a
few hundred meters (feet) from the popular Chaweng beach.
“The
authorities are still investigating the scene to find out more details
before linking it to any insurgency groups,” he said.
Samui is
one of the country’s top island destinations among foreign and Thai
tourists. It has rarely been a target of militant attacks in the past.

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