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YALA, Thailand: Three suspected Muslim insurgents were shot dead by troops in Thailand’s troubled deep south Tuesday after launching an attack on a security checkpoint, police said.
The men were among six people in a pick-up truck who opened fire on the outpost in Panare district in Pattani, one of the three provinces wracked by more than eight years of unrest, said Police Colonel Manit Yimsai.
“Three were shot and killed at the scene of the clash. We have seized a lot of evidence such as firearms,” he told AFP by telephone.
A ranger and a villager were seriously wounded in the fighting.
A complex insurgency, waged without clearly stated aims, has riven Thailand’s far south since 2004, claiming thousands of lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, and resulting in a heavy military presence in the region.
People in the region complain of a long history of discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims by authorities in the Buddhist-majority nation, including alleged abuses by the armed forces.
In a separate incident, a 53-year-old Muslim man was shot dead at a rubber plantation in neighbouring Narathiwat province Tuesday. Police said he had declined several invitations by militants to join their struggle.
In another attack in Pattani province, a Muslim man was killed in a drive-by shooting while riding a motorcycle home late Monday, police said. -- AFP