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Gunmen kill three in Thai south: police

world Updated: Jan 18, 2010 13:39 IST

Suspected insurgents have killed three people including two Muslims in separate incidents in Thailand's violent south, police said on Monday.

In Pattani province on Sunday night, four gunmen opened fire with M-16 rifles on a 31-year-old male Muslim villager outside his home, where he died.

Soon afterwards a 36-year-old dessert vendor was killed in a drive-by shooting while he was travelling home from a teashop in the same province.

Also on Sunday evening a Buddhist woman, aged 42, was killed when two suspects travelling by motorcycle threw a hand-made bomb into the karaoke bar where she worked in Pattani, police said.

More than 4,100 people have been killed and thousands more wounded since an insurgency erupted in the southern region six years ago, but the shadowy militants have never publicly stated their goals.

Tensions had simmered ever since mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed the mainly Muslim south, formerly a Malay Muslim sultanate, in 1902.