Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eleven more killed in Thailand's troubled south

YALA, Thailand, – Eleven people were shot dead and a powerful bomb wounded at least two dozen others as violence intensified in Thailand's Muslim-majority south during the holy month of Ramadan.

The spate of killings, all on Wednesday, was one of the bloodiest for months in Thailand's insurgency-hit provinces bordering Malaysia, where a separatist rebellion has been raging for more than five years.

Almost 3,900 people have been killed and thousands more injured since the bloody insurgency erupted in early 2004, led by shadowy militants who have never publicly stated their goals. The south has seen a recent upsurge in attacks, many of which involve shootings of Buddhists and Muslims alike. There have also been gruesome killings such as crucifixions and beheadings.

Thailand's four southern-most provinces made up an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until the region was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902, sparking decades of tension.

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