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'Four killed in restive Thai south'

Four people including two militant separatists and a teacher have been shot dead in separate attacks in Thailand's troubled south, police said.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2008 10:34 IST

Four people including two militant separatists and a teacher were shot dead in separate attacks in Thailand's troubled south, police said on Friday.

The 30-year-old Muslim teacher was killed in a drive-by shooting in the Yarang district of Pattani province on Thursday afternoon while he was riding his motorbike home, police said.

He was the 100th teacher killed in more than four years of unrest in the Muslim-majority provinces bordering Malaysia. Militants have targeted government-run school workers, whom they consider a symbol of Thai authority.

A 63-year-old Thai villager was also shot dead in the Khok Pho district of Pattani in another drive-by shooting late on Thursday evening.

In nearby Narathiwat, two Muslim militants, both wanted by police, were shot and killed after clashing with security forces in Rangae district on Thursday afternoon.

Seven suspects were also arrested after 1,000 security officials, backed by a military helicopter, fought with militants for over five hours, police said.

Despite televised claims of a ceasefire by self-proclaimed militant leaders last week, which was rejected by army officials, violence has flared again in recent days.

More than 3,300 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay sultanate until Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.