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Two civilians shot dead in Thai south: police

world Updated: Oct 24, 2009 16:27 IST
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Suspected Islamic militants shot dead two men in separate attacks on Saturday in Thailand's troubled south, police said.

They said a 45-year-old Muslim farmer was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Pattani town, in the province of the same name.

A 45-year-old Buddhist man, who worked as a janitor at the local university, was killed by four gunmen at a teashop in the Mae Larn district of Pattani province.

A bitter separatist insurgency in Thailand's Muslim-majority south has claimed more than 3,900 lives over the past five years.

The shadowy militants target Buddhists and Muslims, with victims ranging from teachers and government officials to rubber plantation workers.

The insurgency erupted in January 2004 but tensions have simmered in the region, formerly an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate, since it was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902.