UPDATE – Roadside bomb injures 3 Thai soldiers in south


Army official tells Anadolu Agency recent attacks suspected to be aimed at causing confusion amid annual nationwide conscription process


By CS Thana

BANGKOK – Three Thai soldiers were injured Monday morning after a roadside explosion in a majority Muslim southern province plagued by a decades-old insurgency.

The soldiers were traveling to provide protection at a military drafting center when the attack in Narathiwat occurred, according to local media.

The Thai PBS television channel reported that the troops were expected to survive but the pickup truck they were riding on had suffered heavy damage.

A senior member of the army’s Internal Security Operations Command who declined to be named citing ongoing investigations told Anadolu Agency that recent attacks are suspected to be aimed at causing confusion as Thailand organizes its yearly nationwide conscription process.

All Thai men are expected to serve in the armed forces upon turning 21 years of age.

Local districts have a yearly conscription quota which is filled through volunteers and draft.

Those enlisted are expected to serve a maximum of two years depending on level of education.

The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between Malay Muslims living in the southern region and the Thai central state where Buddhism is considered the de-facto national religion.

Armed insurgent groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools, but the insurgency faded in the 1990s.

In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement – composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around an organization called the National Revolutionary Front, or BRN, emerged.

The confrontation is one of the deadliest low-intensity conflicts on the planet.