Muslim Thai army officer dies in blast

Bomb explodes at cemetery of Muslim officer’s mother in Thailand, killing him and injuring his father while praying

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

(Photo: Reuters Archive)

A Thai army officer was killed and his father seriously wounded Sunday morning when a bomb went off at a cemetery in the country’s insurgency-plagued Muslim south.

A police official in Yala province who requested anonymity citing ongoing investigations told Anadolu Agency that that Said Chedoma “was paying respect to his late mother when he was targeted by the bombing."

The police source added that they suspect the incident was an insurgent attack.

Chedoma died immediately in the explosion while his father sustained life-threatening wounds, according to police.

Investigators believe that Chedoma was targeted because he was a Muslim working with the central government.

The insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between Malay Muslims living in the provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and some districts of Songhkla 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 the National Revolutionary Front -- emerged.

Since then, the conflict has killed 6,400 people and injured more than 11,000, making it one of the deadliest low-intensity conflicts on the planet.

A peace dialogue was engaged by the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2013, but was suspended in December of that year due to political tensions in Bangkok.

The May 22, 2014 coup -- which overthrew Shinawatra’s government and brought a junta to power -- added more uncertainty to a possible peaceful solution to the conflict, even though the military are continuing the dialogue, the latest session of which was held in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 25.