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17 Mar 2020 | 03:00 AM UTC

Thailand: Bomb attack outside government office in Yala province March 17

Unidentified militants detonate two bombs outside of a government office in Muang district (Yala province) on March 17, wounding at least 20 people

security
THA

Event

Suspected militants detonated two bombs near a government office in Yala province on the morning (local time) of Tuesday, March 17. The first device exploded at approximately 10:30 in front of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) in Muang district. A second device placed in a vehicle detonated nearby. At least 20 people were wounded in the blasts. The attack occurred during a meeting between government and health officials to discuss responses to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Context

An ethnic and religious separatist insurgency is ongoing in the provinces of Songkhla, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala, which make up the historical Malay Patani region in the extreme south of the country along the Thai-Malaysian border. Since 2001, over 7000 people have been killed (e.g. local residents, civil servants, security personnel, militants) and many more wounded in near-daily clashes and assassinations.

Advice

Individuals in Yala province are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, expect heightened security measures, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

As a reminder, some Western governments advise against nonessential travel to Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and the south of Songkhla. Individuals in these areas should remain cautious and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.