As many headed off for the first day of the school year on Tuesday, the feelings may have been those of excitement and perhaps nervousness. Yet, students probably were not afraid of losing their lives. For one young Thai girl and her Dad, this was the outcome upon her arrival for school.
A 4-year-old girl and her father were killed when a bomb that was hidden in a motorcycle was detonated outside a school in southern Thailand. The area is one that has been a hotbed of insurgency, authorities shared on Tuesday.
— Latestcanada.com (@latestcanada) September 6, 2016
The bomb was packed into the fuel tank of the parked motorcycle. It struck pupils and teachers of the Tak Bai district as they attempted to enter the school for the beginning of the day.
The Associated French Press notes the details shared by police detective Noppdol Kingthong.
“The two dead were father and daughter. The bomb was set off by radio control as the pair were near the school gate on a motorbike.”
An additional 12 individuals were wounded, according to hospital workers, who also shared that the two dead were of the Muslim faith.
The insurgents of the area known as the “Deep South” have targeted schools and teachers of the region because they are viewed as symbols of Thai state power that is held over the Muslim-majority area. Since 2004, more than 6, 500 individuals who were mostly civilians have been killed by rebels and Thai security forces, mainly in the southernmost provinces that border Malaysia.
The blast left debris scattered around the area. Police and soldiers are said to often accompany teachers and children to and from school in the most dangerous zones, known as “red zones.” Many teachers have been killed by rebels. Often times, they are killed in front of their students.
After months that involved the rebels attacking security officials, they have seemed to make a return to targeting civilians as of late. The bomb detonated on Tuesday was aimed to kill in an indiscriminate manner as the outcome of the blast demonstrates with the death of a father and his young daughter. Colonel Pramote Prom-in, the spokesperson for the Thai army, verified this in a social media statement, Tuesday.
The AFP relays details about additional deadly attacks in the area, which have finally drawn attention to the violent activity in the region.
“The under-reported conflict in Thailand’s southernmost provinces hit the headlines last month after rare bomb attacks in tourist hotspots inside the kingdom killed four people and wounded dozens, including foreigners.”
The rebels never fully claim responsibility for their attacks and keep their attacks localized to the southern region. Thai authorities indicate that there is little possibility that the conflict will expand out of the south. The unrest has been ongoing and focused on this specific area for over a decade now.
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) July 5, 2016
Five suspects in the recent attacks have been identified as five men, all Muslims from the deep south, who have records of being involved with the insurgency. On Friday, a group that claimed to represent the aims of the rebels engaged in talks with the Thai junta. The intention is to lay groundwork for peace talks that had formerly been stalled back in 2014 due to the coup in Thailand. It was unclear, however, as to whether the representatives for the rebels have control over the foot soldiers of the insurgents.
It is a known fact that the military is also very much distrusted by Malay Muslims in the south. The publication indicates the reasons for this.
“Rights groups says years of abuses by security forces including extra-judicial killings, have eroded faith in the Thai state, which is also accused of railroading the local culture.”
[Photo by Dario Pignatelli/Getty Images]