Suspected Muslim insurgents kill 5 in attack on warehouse in restive southern Thailand

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Suspected insurgents kill 5 in southern Thailand

PATTANI, Thailand — Suspected Muslim insurgents disguised as policemen killed five people in an attack on a warehouse in southern Thailand, police said Wednesday.

Police Col. Amnart Dee said four men and a woman who were buying and selling fruit at the warehouse were killed in the gun attack Tuesday night in Pattani province’s Sai Buri district. A 10-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy were among three people wounded, he said.

Authorities believe the attack was a response to the deaths of two insurgents in a clash with officers on Sept. 10. A joint unit of police and soldiers was sent out to hunt for the attackers, whom police said were implicated in many violent incidents in the area.

More than 4,200 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since an Islamist insurgency erupted in 2004.

Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala provinces are the only Muslim-majority areas in predominantly Buddhist Thailand. Muslims there have long complained of discrimination by the central government.

The insurgents have made no public pronouncements, but are thought to be fighting for an independent Muslim state. Their attacks target civilians and businesses, as well as symbols of the state, including soldiers and government officials.

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