15 injured in bombings and drive-by shootings in violence-plagued southern Thailand

Two remote-controlled bombs exploded minutes apart Sunday at a market in violence-plagued southern Thailand, injuring 12 people including a 2-year-old boy and a Malaysian man, police said.

The first bomb was hidden in a fruit basket at the market in Narathiwat province's Sungai Kolok, a town on the border with Malaysia, said police Capt. Teerapak Sengseng.

About 10 minutes later, as police were investigating, the second bomb exploded 10 meters (30 feet) away.

Among the 12 who suffered minor injuries were a 2-year-old boy, a 58-year-old Malaysian man and three policemen, said Teerapak, one of the injured officers.

Meanwhile, three other people were injured in drive-by shootings nearby, police said.

Gunmen on the backs of motorcycles fired at two men in Narathiwat's Cho Airong district, said police Lt. Watana Detampai. A five-months-pregnant milk vendor was shot at in a similar attack in Sungai Padi district, said police Lt. Nathiwuth Deekaew.

Separately, police said they had charged 16 suspects with murder and arson over Oct. 16 attack on a temple in the southern province of Pattani. The attackers hacked to death and elderly man and fatally shot two boys working at the temple, then set fire to the monks' living quarters.

Regional police commander Lt. Col. Adul Saengsingkaew said that the suspects were linked to several other cases, including at least one beheading in October, and that they had confessed to the temple attack.

They could face the death penalty if convicted.

One suspect, Masoreh Jehsami, told reporters he had been brainwashed and misled into the insurgency, and apologized to his victims. He described how, over time, he committed increasingly violent attacks.

"I'm ready to accept the maximum punishment, befitting the crime," Masoreh said.

The three southernmost provinces _ Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat _ are the only Muslim-majority areas in mostly Buddhist Thailand. Southern Muslims have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens.

More than 1,100 people have been killed in an Islamic separatist insurgency that has wracked the region since early 2004, AP reported. V.A.