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'Suspected rebels kill three in Thai south'

Suspected separatist rebels killed three people in Thailand, as the region entered the fifth year of a deadly insurgency.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2008 07:23 IST


Suspected separatist rebels have killed three people in Thailand's Muslim-majority south, police said on Friday, as the region entered the fifth year of a deadly insurgency.

A 57-year-old Muslim man was killed in a drive-by shooting as he travelled to a local mosque in Yala province on Thursday evening, police said, while in a district nearby a 44-year-old Buddhist rubber tapper was also shot dead.

In Pattani province earlier the same day, one soldier was killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb hit their patrol.
Friday marks the fourth anniversary of the rebellion, which erupted when militants raided an army base in Narathiwat province on January 4, 2004, reviving long-running tensions.

The south was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of animosity toward the state.
More than 2,800 people -- both Buddhist and Muslim -- have been killed since the rebellion began, with killings growing more frequent and brutal.