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Three shot dead, one beheaded in Thai south: police

Suspected separatist insurgents have killed three people in Thailand's turbulent south, beheading one of the victims in the fourth such incident in a week, police said on Thursday.

world Updated: Feb 26, 2009 10:02 IST

Suspected separatist insurgents have killed three people in Thailand's turbulent south, beheading one of the victims in the fourth such incident in a week, police said on Thursday.

A group of rebels shot dead a 36-year-old army ranger and his 21-year-old relative in Narathiwat province late on Wednesday, police said, before beheading the younger victim and mutilating both corpses with a knife.

Two soldiers and a civilian have been killed and beheaded in similar attacks in the south since last on Friday, as militants step up a tactic aimed at terrifying villagers so they do not inform authorities, officials say.

Also late on Wednesday in Narathiwat, a 62-year-old man was killed and two of his family injured when militants opened fire in a food shop.

More than 3,600 people have been killed since separatist unrest erupted five years ago in the Muslim-majority south. Tensions have simmered since Thailand annexed the mainly Malay sultanate in 1902.