Southern Thailand rocked by series of attacks after king signs new constitution

Attacks included bomb explosions at 52 electricity poles and several tyre-burning incidents.

Military personnel stand next to the site of an attack at Yaring district, in the troubled southern province of Pattani, Thailand, on 7 April 2017REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

At least 23 coordinated attacks occurred in Muslim-majority southern Thailand on Friday, (7 April) a day after King Maha Vajiralongkorn signed a new constitution in a step to end military rule. However, no casualties were reported.

The region in recent times has seen an uptick in a decades-old Muslim separatist insurgency.

Pramote Prom-in, a spokesperson for the regional security forces, told Reuters, "The incidents are aimed to create disturbances. They want to destroy the government's credibility and create fear among people." The forces added that they could not yet identify the insurgent groups responsible for the attacks.

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Prom-in said that attacks were perpetrated across 19 districts in the southern region grouping the provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla.

He further said full details were not yet available but attacks included bomb explosions at 52 electricity poles, triggering wide spread electricity cuts and many tyre-burning incidents.

On Thursday, the king of Thailand signed a new constitution, paving the way for an election that the Thai military junta says will restore democracy in the southeast Asian country. Voters from the Muslim-majority parts of Thailand were among the few who rejected the draft of the constitution in a 2016 referendum.

Critics of the new constitution say it would still give the military generals the powers to stay involved in Thai politics for several years to come if not decades.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said the timing of the attacks, hours after the constitution was proclaimed was curious but added that there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that it was a motive.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in three southern provinces since a Malay Muslim separatist insurgency escalated in 2004, according to independent monitoring group Deep South Watch.

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