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29 December 2006

Four killed in three attacks by suspected Muslim rebels in southern Thailand

medium_bloodyCross.jpgBANGKOK, Thailand: Two teachers were shot and burned to death in Thailand's restive south Friday by suspected Muslim insurgents, while a government worker and a grocery store owner were killed in other attacks, police said

School headmaster Chamnong Chupatpong and Mano Sonkaew were driving a pickup truck on their way to Ban Baedo school in Yala province when they were shot, dragged out of the vehicle and burned to death, according to a witness, Lt. Tatsapol Suwannabul said.

Their bodies were found on a roadside, the Yala-based police officer said, adding that details of the attack were being investigated.

The attackers had spread nails across roads in the area before the attack to distract police, Tatsapol said.

In the second incident, a government-hired village defense volunteer, Komhem Ya-kae, was ambushed and shot to death by at least three drive-by shooters while he was riding a motorcycle home in Narathiwat province, police said.

Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Thailand's three southernmost Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, where an Islamic insurgency that flared in January 2004 has killed more than 1,900 people.

Suspected insurgents target people regarded as collaborators with the government as well as soldiers and police. More than 50 Buddhist and Muslim teachers, viewed as symbols of government authority, have also been killed.

Despite offers of peace and reconciliation by the country's military-backed government, violence has increased in recent months

POSTED BY//www.iht.com

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