Four Killed in Thailand's Rebellious Muslim South

June 19, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Reuters

BANGKOK, June 19 (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim separatist rebels killed four people, including a district chief and an army colonel, in Thailand's rebellious Muslim south, police said on Tuesday.

One soldier was killed and two wounded late on Monday as they clashed with militants who set fire to a school in Pattani, one of three southernmost Thai provinces where more than 2,300 people have been killed in a three-year insurgency, police said.

The district chief, the colonel and their driver were killed early on Tuesday by a 15-kg (33 lb) roadside bomb as they returned from another school fire in Pattani, police said.

Anti-government slogans were written on a small bridge near the explosion accusing the Pattani governor of involvement in the killing of four Muslim politicians on their way home from a meeting with him. The governor said militants were to blame.

Schools are regarded as symbol of the largely Buddhist government in Bangkok, which annexed the former sultanate a century ago.

Last week, arson attacks destroyed 13 government schools in Yala, leaving 3,000 students with no classrooms.

Three Buddhist teachers were also killed in violence which shows no signs of abating despite the presence of 30,000 troops and police.