Friday, June 15, 2007

Terrorist bomb hits football game in south Thailand

A bomb explosion at a football field in Pattani, southern Thailand, yesterday injured 14 policeman providing security at the game. The explosion came after 13 schools in neighbouring Yala province were set on fire overnight, heightening concern for the safety of teachers and students in the terrorist-plagued region.

Two local teams were playing a friendly football match at a public field in Yaring district when a bomb was detonated remotely by mobile phone, Pol Lt Somkiat Kanchanaporn told the Bangkok Post. Five policemen were severely wounded, and the others suffered minor injuries, Pol Lt Somkiat said, blaming Muslim insurgents for the attack. The wounded policemen were taken to a nearby hospital. The players and fans, mostly civilians, fled the scene in panic after the explosion, he said.

In Yala, 13 schools in five districts were burned on Wednesday affecting more than 3,000 students, many of whom were left without any classrooms to go to yesterday. Moderate to severe damage to buildings was reported in eight of the schools while the fires caused only minor damage to the other five, Yala governor Theera Minthrasak said yesterday. He said more schools would have been set alight if village defence volunteers and residents had not foiled further arson attempts. Police believe the attacks were carried out by more than 50 people working in small groups to break into and set fire to the schools.

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