Small bombs hit popular southern Thai beach, damaging statue

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Police in Thailand are investigating two small bombs, one of which damaged an iconic statue on a popular beach in the country’s south.

Police in Songkhla province say they’re looking into whether the bombs were related to a Muslim separatist insurgency that has wracked nearby provinces since 2004, taking almost 7,000 lives.

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The Golden Mermaid statue, which is an unofficial symbol of the province, was damaged by one bomb. The other took place about 300 meters (yards) away, near the beach’s Cat and Mouse sculpture.

The insurgency has mostly affected the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, which have Muslim majorities in predominantly Buddhist Thailand.

Songkhla, with substantial Muslim population, has generally been spared the violence though the provincial capital of Hat Yai has suffered several bombings.