Two killed in south Thailand violence

Two people have been killed and at least seven injured in a spate of bombings and shootings in southern Thailand, home to most of the country's Muslim community.

    Thailand's south has seen a spate of car bombings (file)

    A man was killed by suspected insurgents who shot him in the head shortly after he dropped off a group of children at school in Pattani province on Thursday, police said.

    One man was killed and two people injured when insurgents opened fire on a grocery store in Narathiwat late on Wednesday.

    Police believe the shooting was meant to lure them to the shop, where the insurgents had hidden a 10-kg bomb. They found the bomb after the body was taken out of the store, but managed to defuse it before it exploded.

    Meanwhile, five soldiers were injured when a powerful roadside bomb overturned their vehicle in Narathiwat early on Thursday.

    Narathiwat province borders with Malaysia and has been troubled by more than two years of unrest.

    Officials and analysts say the violence stems from a variety of causes, including ethnic Malay separatism, local police corruption and smuggling rings.

    Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister toppled in last week's coup, has been accused of inflaming tensions there with his government's heavy-handed tactics.

    There have been hopes that the Muslim army chief who led the coup, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, may be able to ease the unrest.

    Nearly 1,500 people have been killed since the unrest erupted in southern Thailand in January 2004.

    SOURCE: AFP


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