Blast kills bomb squad pair in Thai south
Two bomb disposal policemen were killed in a blast in the Thai south.
Narathiwat (Thailand): Two bomb disposal policemen were killed and nine other people wounded in a blast in the Thai south today, after warnings of New Year violence in the restive region, police said.
The bomb, the second in Narathiwat province in four days, went off in front of a stall, killing a 50-year-old police officer. The second victim, whose age is unknown, died in hospital after suffering a shrapnel wound. The owner of the vegetable stall had alerted authorities after he became suspicious about a motorcycle parked by two teenagers nearby, police said.
After the disposal squad arrived and sealed off the area, the bomb hidden on the motorcycle was detonated by mobile phone, also wounding nine people including onlooking villagers, policemen and security volunteers.
Suspected Islamic insurgents have waged a violent campaign in the deep south of Thailand since early 2004, leaving more than 4,400 people dead, both Muslims and Buddhists.
On Tuesday, the government moved to lift emergency rule in a pocket of the troubled area as a test case for the rest of the Muslim-majority region.
The emergency laws, which give broad powers to security forces, are being rolled back in Mae Lan district in Pattani, one of three provinces near the Malaysian border which have been subject to the decree since 2005.