Monday, August 23, 2010

Two killed, five wounded in Thai south unrest

Thai security personnel inspect a police vehicle that was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern Pattani province August 3, 2010

Thailand, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim insurgents shot dead two people and wounded five others in three separate attacks in the space of one day in Thailand's restive south, police said on Monday.

The incidents all took place between Sunday night and Monday morning in Pattani, one of three provinces plagued by six years of bloody unrest, believed to be caused by Muslim rebels seeking secession from predominantly Buddhist Thailand.

A Muslim man, formerly a local politician, was shot dead and a village chief wounded when unknown gunmen opened fire as they drove a pickup truck to morning prayers on Monday, police said.

In another attack on Monday, a Buddhist couple were shot and wounded on their way to work at a construction site.

The previous night, a Muslim village official was shot dead in front of a school by mystery assailants, police Lietenant Mana Naktang said. Two bystanders were also wounded.

More than 4,000 people have been killed since a decades-old rebellion resurfaced in 2004 in the mainly Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, which border Malaysia.

No group has claimed responsibility for the violence, for which there has so far been no known evidence of links to foreign militant networks.

The attacks have ranged from drive-by shootings and sabotage to bombings and beheadings. Targets are usually Buddhists and Muslims associated with the Thai state, such as police, soldiers, government officials and teachers.

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