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Teacher among two dead in Thai south: police

Suspected separatist militants shot and killed a teacher on Tuesday in Thailand's restive south as schools opened for the second day of the new academic year, police said.

world Updated: May 19, 2009 11:32 IST

Suspected separatist militants shot and killed a teacher on Tuesday in Thailand's restive south as schools opened for the second day of the new academic year, police said.

Police said at least three people had launched an ambush on the 41-year-old elementary school teacher as he travelled to school in troubled Yala province.

Schools and teachers are frequent targets of attacks in the Muslim-majority south because militants see the education system as an effort by Bangkok to impose Buddhist Thai culture on the mainly ethnic Malay region.

Security forces now provide teachers with a guarded escort to and from work, but police said the elementary school teacher had not been part of the protected convoy on Tuesday.

Meanwhile a 39-year-old Muslim man on his way to play football was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in neighbouring Narathiwat province on Monday evening, police said.

More than 3,600 people have been killed and thousands more injured in five years of separatist violence across the three restive provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Buddhist-majority Thailand annexed the ethnic Malay area in 1902, sparking decades of tension.