Two Buddhists killed in Thailand's troubled south
Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:50pm IST
PATTANI, Thailand (Reuters) - Gunmen shot and killed two Buddhist villagers on Monday as they were riding on a motorcycle looking for food, the latest violence in Thailand's restive south, police said.
Four gunmen shot dead the two men aged 55 and 46 in Pattani province, leaving their bodies by the side of the road near their motorcycle, a police officer said.
Witnesses said the attack, which happened around 1 p.m. (0600 GMT), was carried out by gunmen on two motorcycles as the two victims were riding around with friends. They were shot in the head and body, but the three friends managed to escape.
Over 3,600 people have been killed in five years of unrest blamed on separatists in the three provinces, part of a Muslim sultanate until annexed a century ago by predominantly Buddhist Thailand. About 80 percent of the region is Muslim and people there speak a Malay dialect.
The violence has ranged from drive-by shootings to bombings and beheadings. It often targets Buddhists and Muslims associated with the Thai state, such as police, soldiers, government officials and teachers.
No credible group has claimed responsibility for the violence, which the 30,000 troops stationed in the rubber-rich region have failed to quell.