BANGKOK: Four Thai soldiers were killed and at least a dozen more wounded, some critically, when a powerful roadside bomb went off Wednesday in Thailand's unrest-plagued south, police said.
The 50-kilogram bomb was hidden in a gas canister and detonated by a mobile phone device at around midday as an army truck approached, a police officer in the Kha Pho district of Pattani province told AFP.
In addition to the four killed, twelve other soldiers were wounded and six of them remain in a critical condition, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Sixteen soldiers were in the army truck -- they were being reshuffled for rest and recreation," he said, adding that the four victims had died at the local hospital.
Meanwhile, police in nearby Yala province said two Muslim villagers had been shot dead Tuesday, without giving further details.
More than 5,500 people have been killed in Thailand's Muslim-majority south since 2004, with shadowy insurgent groups blamed for near-daily bombings and shootings.
Security personnel and those connected with the government are regularly targeted, as well as Muslims perceived to be collaborating with the authorities.
Earlier this year, Thailand held its first official peace talks with southern insurgents but no significant breakthroughs were made and attacks have continued in the region. (AFP)