Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Restive Rebels Kill 7

Rebels? Like in Star Wars?

Rebels kill seven in south Thailand

policeman who had been guarding the Thai queen was among seven people shot dead by suspected separatists in Thailand's Muslim-majority south, police said on Tuesday.

Militants ambushed a police vehicle that had been providing security to Thailand's Queen Sirikit, about 20 minutes after she had arrived at the palace in Narathiwat province where she is vacationing, police said.

A 27-year-old policeman was killed and two others seriously injured in the ambush late on Tuesday, they said.

In another attack, militants shot dead a 67-year-old Buddhist construction worker and set his body ablaze late yesterday in Pattani province, police said.

Two Buddhist women were also shot dead in separate attacks in Pattani and Yala provinces, while two Muslim men were killed in drive-by shootings late yesterday in Narathiwat, police added.

Another Muslim man was killed late yesterday in the province of Songkhla as he pedalled his ice cream cart, the authorities added.

More than 2,500 people have been killed in the unrest that has gripped Thailand's restive southern Muslim heartland for more than three years. The region was annexed by Buddhist Thailand a century ago.

The situation has worsened since the military seized power in Thailand in a coup last year, despite increased defence spending and a raft of peace-building initiatives.