There have been at least 13 bombings or attempted bombings in southern Thailand since Wednesday. All of the bombings appear to be from the same network or group of people, but no one has officially claimed the wave of attacks yet. Some of the devices were hidden in flower pots or under trees and detonated with cell phones in busy areas frequented by foreign tourists.

Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy prime minister in Thailand’s military-run government, said the attacks were “absolutely conducted by the same network.”- New York Times

Below, you can see a timeline of the events starting on Wednesday, August 10th.

thai timeline

Thai bombings
This map graphically represents the bombing locations and is not exact. (Most of the dots would be on top of each other if it were exact.)

Again, no one has claimed these bombings and local authorities are not convinced the separatists in the southern region of Thailand are responsible since they have not attacked the tourist region in the past. CNN reported that two people have been detained and are being questioned by police but they have not released details about the suspects yet. Some believe those responsible are upset over the recently approved referendum and are trying to send the military-led government a message. The new constitution was passed with a 61 percent approval from voters, which could leave a large percentage of the population unhappy with the change.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd advanced the theory that those behind the blasts could be people who “lost benefits” because of the outcome of Sunday’s referendum, in which 61% of voters approved a new constitution that will entrench the military’s role in government for years to come.

Finger-pointing after such incidents usually implicates followers of self-exiled ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. But Friday’s blasts were in anti-Thaksin regions, and all occurred in provinces where the draft charter was approved by large majorities.

Police also said they had not found any evidence that the blasts were coordinated or whether they were related to the long-running insurgency in Muslim-majority provinces in southern Thailand. Southern insurgents rarely conduct operations outside the three border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. –Bangkok Post

Targeting a royal town, Hua Hin, the favoured retreat of the royal family, and on a day when many Thais are celebrating Queen Sirikit’s 84th birthday, is also significant. -BBC

The bombings are in the tourist areas, which leads police to believe they are trying to sabotage the tourist economy. Tourists have been warned to stay away from crowded areas.

A spokesman for the national police, Maj. Gen. Piyapan Pingmuang, said there was no evidence of a connection to international terrorism. “This is different from the terrorism that has taken place in many countries,” he said. “This is local sabotage.”

Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington who researches politics and security in Southeast Asia, doubted that southern insurgents were behind the blasts. “It’s been years since they have been able to pull off coordinated attacks across multiple cities and provinces, and when they have, it’s always been confined to the deep south,” he said in an email.

He said the bombings were likelier to be the work of dissidents opposed to the military government that has ruled Thailand since a coup in 2014. He noted that the blasts came days after voters approved a new constitution expanding the power of the junta, which had barred opponents of the proposal from campaigning against it. – New York Times

More information to follow as more details become available.

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Image courtesy of Bangkok Post