Renewed terrorism threats in the country's Muslim south prompted a meeting of worried teachers and parents. The southernmost provinces near the Malaysian border have a history of insurgency from communist and Muslim separatists. Teachers' leader Narit Suthiklad led a meeting in Narathiwat to discuss a sudden surge in bomb attacks, allegedly carried out by bandit gangs. Last week in Yala, police defused a 15-kilogram bomb 10 minutes before it was set to explode. The bomb was planted under a lorry in the garage of a company also targeted by machinegun fire. A gang of bandits allied to the outlawed Pattani United Liberation Organisation claimed responsibility for the attack. Last weekend, people escaped injury in a bomb blast at a school in Narathiwat. The Thai Army claims it has clamped down on insurgency in the southern provinces. Commander of the Fourth Army Region Lieutenant-General Panthep Phuvanatnurak said last week the bomb blast was merely meant to create an image that the region was still politically unstable. He dismissed suggestions the bombing was the work of separatists, claiming terrorism had come to an end. But last month, the rebel organisation said it would bomb railway lines, bridges, government offices and cars of Pattani province officials. It claimed responsibility for blowing up railway lines in Yala the month before. Groups believe the five southernmost provinces should be declared Muslim states and have threatened teachers of the Thai language.