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Eight killed in shooting in Thai south: police

world Updated: Mar 02, 2008 17:09 IST

AFP
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Eight people were killed after unknown gunmen stormed into a prominent doctor's home in southern Thailand, but health officials on Sunday ruled out any link to an insurgency in nearby provinces.

Suthathip Thammachart, the director of a hospital in Songkhla province, and seven friends visiting her home were killed in the attack around midnight, police said.

They said the reason for the attack was still under investigation, but the health ministry ruled out a link to the Islamic separatist insurgency raging in nearby provinces along the Malaysian border.

"The shooting was not related with violence in nearby provinces, a lover's quarrel or hospital management," the ministry's deputy permanent secretary Pipat Yingseree said in a statement.

Songkhla province borders the Muslim-majority region where a separatist insurgency has raged for more than four years. Violence occasionally spills into Songkhla, but Suthathip's home was not in an area prone to attacks.

More than 2,900 people have been killed since unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous sultanate until Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.