A roadside bomb in southern Thailand killed eight soldiers early Saturday morning, shaking a tenuous peace process that could end the area's persistent insurgency.
Some 5,700 people have died in the almost decade-long battle between the government and Muslim separatists in Thailand's Muslim-majority southern provinces.
"It was a very powerful bomb that completely destroyed the truck," which had been carrying ten soldiers, Colonel Pramote Promin told Agence France-Presse. "Eight died and two were wounded," he said. Two local civilians were also injured in the blast.
The bomb attack comes days after the Thai government rejected a ceasefire proposal from the rebel Barisan Revolusi Nasional group for the month of Ramadan, an Islamic holiday which begins next month.
Demands included the release of detainees in the south, the consenting to Malaysia as a mediator for both parties, and for Thailand's army to go back to their bases during the holy month, a condition the government rejected. Since then violence has continued, almost on a daily basis, with attacks on civilians and security forces, AFP reports.
Thailand is a Buddhist-majority country, but in three southern provinces, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, there is a Muslim majority, according to the BBC.