TWO SPONTANEOUS small-bomb attacks near a market in Yala’s Kabang district yesterday slightly wounded four civilians in what police believed was an attempt by insurgents to create chaos in this restive region.

The double explosions took place 10 minutes apart from one another at Ban Bala Market at around 11am and left three women and a boy injured, and damaged a grocery shop, a pickup truck and a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday dismissed rumours that an unofficial meeting between Thai negotiators and MARA Patani representatives in Kuala Lumpur, brokered by the Malaysian government last Wednesday, had failed to make any progress because of a disagreement. It was reported that the Thai government wanted to set up cease-fire zones while MARA Patani wanted to ink written documents before talking further.

Prawit said there was no disagreement and expressed confidence that the peace dialogue would continue uninterrupted.

MARA Patani is a forum of six long-standing separatist groups who claim to represent Malay Muslims living in the deep South.

Meanwhile, the body of slain marine Petty Officer 1st Class Jittapol Renu na Ayutthaya was flown to Chon Buri’s Sattahip Naval Base after a ceremony yesterday in Narathiwat’s Muang district. His body would be returned to his hometown in Buri Ram later.

Jittapol, a nephew of Narathiwat Special Task Force deputy chief Colonel Worachit Satsilpa, was killed when a roadside bomb went off in Tak Bai district on Monday night.

He was leading an eight-strong foot patrolling team in Tambon Na Nak when a villager alerted them about 3-4 suspects drilling something at the scene. When they went to inspect the site, a hidden bomb went off, causing injuries that proved fatal.