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3 Muslim civilians killed in southern Thailand

3 Muslim civilians killed in southern Thailand

Two Muslim civilians riding motorcycles were shot and killed and another died in a bombing in restive southern Thailand on Thursday, the latest violence in the insurgency-plagued region.
More than 3,700 people, both Muslims and Buddhists, have been killed in Thailand's three southernmost provinces _ Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala _ since an insurgency flared in January 2004. The provinces are the only Muslim-majority areas in the Buddhist-dominated country.
Assailants gunned down a man riding a motorcycle after morning prayers at a mosque in Yala province, said army spokesman Col. Parinya Chaidilok. The victim's 7-year-old son, who was also on the motorcycle, was hospitalized after being shot in the back.
In a separate attack in the same province Thursday, a Muslim civil servant was killed in a drive-by shooting as he rode a motorcycle, Parinya said. A woman also died when a small bomb exploded near a rubber plantation where she worked, he said.
A massive counterinsurgency effort by the government had slowed the pace of attacks, but over the past week roadside bombings and drive-by shootings have killed 16 people and wounded at least 50. The latest surge in violence coincided with the start of Ramadan, though the military and analysts didn't link the two.
A car bomb detonated outside a packed restaurant in Narathiwat province Tuesday. Twelve people were hospitalized and at least 30 others suffered minor injuries.
The militants target civil servants and others working with the government, including soldiers, police and informants. Attacks on civilians are believed intended to scare the Buddhist community into fleeing.
Authorities say militants also target Muslims suspected of collaborating with the government. Some villagers and religious leaders, however, blame attacks on Muslims on Thai security forces.
The shadowy insurgents are generally believed to be fighting to carve out an independent Muslim state. The area used to be an Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century.
While many do not support the insurgents, there is widespread feeling among Muslims that they are regarded as second-class citizens by predominantly Buddhist Thai authorities.


Updated : 2021-03-06 13:54 GMT+08:00