A series of three bomb blasts tore through a town in southern Thailand near the Malaysian border, leaving four dead and dozens injured.

The bombs went off within 40 minutes of each other and targeted a hotel and a Chinese-Thai cultural center in Sungai Kolok, in Narathiwat province.

The Bangkok Post reports that a three-year-old girl and a Malaysian tourist were among the dead, while several tourists sustained shrapnel wounds.

All of the bombs were reportedly planted in vehicles - two on motorbikes and another in a car.

Police have detained two suspects for questioning after blocking off roads and cutting mobile phone coverage in the area.

The bomb attacks came hours after a Muslim police officer and a defense volunteer were shot dead in a mosque in tambon Budi, Yala's Muang district, during prayers.

The attacks reflect a recent uptick of violence in the region. Just two days ago, a roadside bomb blasted a military vehicle and five soldiers were killed by suspected insurgents as they attempted to escape.

Earlier in September, a teacher was shot dead and set on fire and on August 23, a bomb injured a monk, nine soldiers, and three civilians as they walked to their temple.

Despite nearly 60,000 Thai troops in the region, the military has been unable to prevent frequent attacks in three southern provinces where Malay-Thai Muslims comprise a 95 percent majority of the region's 1.7 million people.

Thai politicians and the military denounce the Islamist fighters in the region as corrupt criminals who run a drugs and weapons black market in the area and terrorize Buddhists.

While some of the violence is criminal-based, the Islamists in the region argue that they are fighting for economic control and autonomy. They seek to control the region and its people under Islamic law.

Since violence flared up in 2004, nearly 4,800 people have been killed in the border region between Thailand and Malaysia.