Two dead in Thai south bombings: officials

A series of blasts shook a town in the restive Thai south leaving two dead and up to 18 wounded, authorities said Sunday, days after a major attack on a Thai military base in the insurgency-plagued region.

Three bombs have exploded in the provincial town of Pattani since late Saturday, while police said four more devices had been defused, in the latest attacks to rock the Thai south, where thousands have died in nine years of deadly unrest.

A blast at around noon on Sunday in the centre of the town killed a local security volunteer instantly, police said.

Hospital staff said another defence volunteer later died of his wounds, while around 18 people, including civilians, were wounded.

The attacks began with two fire bombs on Saturday night which damaged local shops.

Thailand's southernmost provinces near the Malaysian border suffer almost daily gun and bomb attacks by shadowy insurgents fighting for greater autonomy.

More than 5,500 people, both Buddhist and Muslim, have been killed in the bloody conflict since early 2004.

On Wednesday scores of heavily-armed gunmen stormed an army base in the neighbouring province of Narathiwat but the Thai military repelled the assault, killing 16 militants in one of the most deadly incidents of the insurgency.

Members of Thailand's security forces and civilians accused of collaboration with the authorities are frequently targeted with ambushes and roadside bombs.