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Gunmen kill three Muslims in Thai south

world Updated: Sep 06, 2009 11:51 IST

AFP
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Gunmen shot and killed three Muslims from the same family in the latest violence in Thailand's troubled south, local police said on Sunday.

A village chief, aged 61, his daughter, 33, and her 42-year-old husband, an assistant village chief, were shot and killed while they were sitting in their house in Yala province on Saturday night.

Police said a group of separatists raided the house and opened fire on the family, before fleeing the scene.

The attacks were the latest in a series to hit the restive region during the holy month of Ramadan, intensifying a bitter five-year separatist insurgency that has claimed nearly 3,900 lives.

On Friday a powerful car bomb killed one and wounded 12 others in Yala, while a motorcycle bomb in Pattani on Thursday wounded 27 people. A car bomb outside a restaurant in Narathiwat province on August 25 injured at least 42.

Thailand's southernmost provinces made up an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until it was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902, sparking decades of tension.

The shadowy militants behind the attacks have never publicly stated their goals but have attacked Buddhists and Muslims alike, sometimes using gruesome methods such as crucifixions and beheadings.