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Five Muslim civilians killed in Thai south: police

world Updated: Sep 29, 2009 13:06 IST

Suspected Islamic militants have killed five Muslim civilians in Thailand's troubled south, where a five-year separatist insurgency rages unabated, police said on Tuesday.

The body of a Muslim man who had been stabbed to death was found floating in a river in Pattani province late yesterday, while gunmen broke into a house in the same province and shot dead two other men, they said.

In neighbouring Narathiwat province gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed a former local administration official and his nephew yesterday, said police.

More than 3,900 people have died in the insurgency in Thailand's southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla, led by shadowy militants who have killed Buddhists and Muslims alike.

The region was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until it was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902, sparking decades of tension.