• Directory of Taiwan

Suspected rebels kill cop as Thai leader tours area

Suspected rebels kill cop  as Thai leader tours area

Suspected separatist rebels shot dead a policeman and torched a school in the restive Thai south, police said yesterday, as the prime minister toured the region to promote peace.
A police sergeant was shot and killed while on patrol in Pattani province late Friday night, while a wooden building at an elementary school in nearby Yala province was burnt to the ground by insurgents, also late Friday.
Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont travelled to the Muslim-majority region on Friday afternoon, not long after two bomb blasts in Pattani province injured four people in a provincial town.
The premier, who has made reconciliation in the insurgency-torn south one of his priorities, stayed overnight at a military base and was scheduled to address local officials and Muslim leaders yesterday morning in Pattani.
Surayud was due to return to Bangkok at 1p.m. (local time).
Violence in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has spiralled in recent months despite peace-building initiatives by Thailand's government, installed after a coup four months ago.
More than 1,800 people have been killed in three years of unrest in this region, which was an autonomous Malay sultanate until Thailand annexed it more than a century ago.