Following Wednesday's shooting some 200 mourners marched the charred body of 25-year-old Patcharaporn Bunmat through Yala town demanding a meeting with government leaders to discuss bolstering security in a region.

The woman's father told protesters he wanted officials to do more to "ensure the security of Buddhists."

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Mourners demanded better protection
from the government [AFP]
The shooting and subsequent protest came as General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the head of the Thai junta, visited the province to meet local leaders.

Since a September coup, Thailand's military-installed government has launched a raft of peace measures, but attacks have escalated in the past six months becoming an almost daily occurrence.

The attacks are blamed on a shadowy group of Muslim fighters who complain that Muslims in southern Thailand are discriminated against in jobs and education by Thailand's Buddhist-dominated government.

The government's failure to quell the violence - increasingly involving innocent bystanders - has raised fears that Buddhist civilians may start taking the law into their own hands.

Mainly Buddhist Thailand is on high alert against possible further attacks during the five-day Buddhist New Year holiday, which begins on Friday.