NARATHIWAT, Thailand - A powerful car bomb exploded outside a restaurant packed with government officials in Thailand's troubled Muslim-majority south Tuesday, wounding at least 19 people, police said.
The device was hidden inside a Toyota pick-up truck and was detonated just after 12:30 pm (0530 GMT) in the centre of Narathiwat, the main town in the province of the same name, they said.
"It exploded in front of a restaurant and as of now many people are injured. Police and rescue workers are rushing them to hospital," a police officer in Narathiwat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"So far there are no reports of deaths."
Another policeman confirmed that at least 19 people were wounded, including the chief of the district.
More than 3,700 people have been killed and thousands more injured since a separatist insurgency flared up five years ago in Thailand's southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia.
The region was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until it was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902, sparking decades of tension. --AFP