Eight soldiers killed by roadside bomb in south Thailand

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Media caption,
Footage from the scene shows the bomb left a huge crater in its wake, as Jonathan Head reports

Eight soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in Thailand's restive south, police say, in one of the deadliest attacks on the security forces in recent years.

The "powerful" bomb targeted military vehicles in Krong Pinang district of Yala province, police said.

More than 5,000 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency reignited in the Muslim-majority region in 2004.

Near-daily attacks are continuing despite government talks with rebels.

"It was a very powerful bomb that completely destroyed the truck," police spokesman Colonel Pramote Promin told AFP news agency.

"Ten soldiers were in the truck. Eight died and two were wounded," he said, adding that two villagers had also been injured.

It is the single deadliest attack on Thai security forces in several years.

The attacks in the south continue despite pledges by the government and negotiators for Muslim separatists to try to curb violence over the Ramadan period, beginning next month, in talks earlier in June.

Thailand is a Buddhist-majority country, but Muslims are the majority in the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

Muslim militants, who are fighting for greater autonomy, are believed to carry out the gun and bomb attacks against security forces and citizens perceived to be government allies or collaborators in the area.