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Four shot dead in Thailand's troubled south

world Updated: May 05, 2011 11:24 IST

AFP
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Four Muslim villagers were shot dead by suspected militants at a tea shop in Thailand's far south, which has been plagued by a seven-year insurgency, police said on Wednesday.

Up to five attackers dressed in clothing similar to that of government troops arrived on a pick-up truck and opened fire at people sitting at the roadside tea shop in Bannang Sata district of Yala province on Tuesday evening.

The victims included a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.

Thirteen others were wounded, eight of them critically, police said.

"The motive for the killings is under investigation because I cannot question witnesses as they are practicing funeral rituals," said local police commander Colonel Suwat Wongpaiboon.

More than 4,500 people, both Muslims and Buddhists, have died in nearly daily attacks since shadowy insurgents launched an uprising in Thailand's southernmost region bordering Malaysia in early 2004.

The attacks have become more brazen in recent months with a string of car bombs and attacks on military bases or outposts.

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