MANILA, Philippines — No Filipinos were hurt in Tuesday’s car-bomb attack in troubled southern Thailand believed to have been carried out by Muslim separatists, the Philippine embassy in Bangkok said.
The attack, outside a supermarket in the city of Pattani, wounded 60 people, authorities said.
Most of the wounded were discharged after receiving treatment but 21 with more serious injuries were hospitalized, Arun Prasertsuk, deputy director of Pattani Hospital told a local television channel.
A decades-old separatist insurgency in the largely ethnic Malay Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has killed more than 6,500 people since 2004, according to independent monitoring group Deep South Watch.
The embassy in Bangkok said it was “coordinating closely with the Thai authorities to ensure the continued safety of Filipinos in the area” as well as keeping tabs on the Filipino community in Pattani and Narathiwat “who have already contacted each other to check on each other’s safety and welfare.”
The blast destroyed the front of a Big-C supermarket, scattering debris over a wide area and sending up a column of black smoke.
Muslim insurgents were suspected of carrying out the attack, deputy police chief Rewat Srichantub said. He said the bomber was believed to have fled before the explosion. It was the first car bomb in Pattani since August.
Attacks in Thailand’s deep south, near the border with Muslim-majority Malaysia, have intensified this year. Six army rangers were killed in an attack last month.
The government recently rejected a conditional offer for peace talks from one of the main insurgent groups, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, which demanded international mediation or observation.