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Three Muslims killed in Thailand's troubled south

Three Muslim civilians were killed in separate attacks in Thailand's deep south on Thursday, police said, the latest in a recent upsurge of violence in the troubled region bordering Malaysia.

world Updated: Aug 27, 2009 14:47 IST

Three Muslim civilians were killed in separate attacks in Thailand's deep south on Thursday, police said, the latest in a recent upsurge of violence in the troubled region bordering Malaysia.

The attacks took place in Yala, one of three mainly Muslim provinces in Buddhist Thailand where nearly 3,500 people have been killed in five years of unrest blamed mostly on insurgents.

A man was gunned down as he left his house to attend morning prayers in the province's Krong Pinang subdistict.

That was followed by the drive-by shooting of a civil servant as he rode his motorcycle to work in Bannang Sata, a place the army says is a hotbed of Malay Muslim separatism.

A woman was killed when a bomb exploded before dawn in front of the rubber plantation where she worked in Yaha, police said.

The attacks took the number of deaths in the rubber-rich region to 16 in just over a week, with nearly 50 people injured, among them 42 hurt in a car bombing on Tuesday.

Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces were part of a Malay Muslim sultanates until annexed by Thailand a century ago, and separatist tensions have simmered ever since.

More than half of those killed have been Muslims, fuelling speculation locally and internationally that security forces and state-armed Buddhist civilians have carried out extrajudicial killings, allegations the authorities have denied.