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Roadside bomb injures 17 in southern Thailand

BANGKOK, May 14, 2012 (AFP) - Seventeen people including 10 women paramilitary troops and a civilian were injured in a roadside bombing in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south, local police said Monday.

The blast targeted Thai security personnel on their way back from guard duties at an annual fair in Pattani town just after midnight.

The device, which was concealed in a gas canister, was detonated when the military vehicle stopped at traffic lights, injuring 15 troops and a security volunteer. A local man travelling in a pick-up truck was also hurt.

Police said none of the victims were seriously injured.

A shadowy insurgency, without clearly stated aims, has raged in Thailand's three southernmost provinces -- Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala -- since 2004.

Near-daily bomb or gun attacks have targeted both soldiers and civilians, Buddhists and Muslims, and have claimed more than 5,000 lives in eight years.

A state of emergency is in force in the worst-affected parts of the region, which rights campaigners say in effect gives the tens of thousands of military troops based in the area legal immunity and fuels rights abuses.


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