Wednesday, May 14, 2008

three Muslim men and two soldiers with a government-backed militia killed in Thai south: police

source: AFP via Yahoo! Malaysia News
NARATHIWAT, Thailand (AFP) - - Suspected separatist rebels have shot dead five people in the insurgency-hit Thai south, police said on Tuesday.

Two soldiers with a government-backed militia were killed when they were off-duty Monday evening in Narathiwat, one of three southern provinces beset by a bloody separatist movement.

Also Monday, three Muslim men were killed in two separate attacks in nearby Pattani province, police in the region said.

The slew of killings came two days after Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej paid his first visit to the restive region since taking office in January. He said on his Sunday television show that the violence had recently eased.

More than 3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

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