Bomb attack kills two in Thailand ahead of Obama's visit

Featured South East Asia - November 19th, 2012

Insurgents set off a bomb under a railway in one of Thailand’s Muslim-majority border provinces on Sunday, leaving two dead and 15 injured.

The blast was the latest in a series of attacks by militants in the conflict-riven district of Rueso in Narathiwat. The local train was severely damaged, killing two railway guards and injuring some passengers and railways employees, police said.

Insurgents exchanged fire with other railway guards before fleeing the scene, Police Colonel Dulyaman Yaena told AFP.

An eight-year conflict has ravaged Thailand’s south as militants rebel against perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims and alleged rights abuses by the army. Insurgents called for greater autonomy and there are almost daily bomb and gun attacks. The violence has claimed more than 5,300 lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, AFP reports.

The incident was the second attack ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Thailand in his first Southeast Asian trip since his November 6 re-election.