At least 12 people were wounded when 17 small bombs exploded almost simultaneously in Thailand’s far south, home to a separatist insurgency, officials said.
The explosions occurred about 7 p.m. on Thursday across Yala province, said Banpot Poonpien, a spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command in Bangkok.
The explosions didn’t cause damage to residential areas and most of the injuries were minor, said Prakarn Chollayuth, commander of the army’s fourth region army, based in southern Thailand.
The detonations were intended to “create chaos,” Army Chief Udomdej Sitabutr said by phone.
For the past decade, insurgents in Thailand’s three Muslim-majority provinces near the border with Malaysia have staged regular bombings and shootings, resulting in thousands of deaths as they seek independence. Buddhist-majority Thailand formally annexed an autonomous Malay-Muslim sultanate in the area in 1902.
Yala is about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Bangkok.
Muslim residents in the area for decades have complained of being treated as second-class citizens by the central government in Bangkok. Martial law has been in effect in the areas since 2004, when fighting flared anew, and there have since been allegations of abuse by security forces.
The insurgents, who come from several loosely linked groups, do not publicly claim responsibility for attacks.