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.