Four shot dead in Thai south
Militants shot and killed four Muslims yesterday in separate attacks across the restive Thai south, police said, amid fears of a spike in violence during the holy month of Ramadan.
A religious teacher, aged 39, was shot dead in a pre-dawn ambush on his home in Pattani province as he took a shower, while a married couple, also in their 30s, were killed on their way home from working in the rubber fields.
In neighbouring Yala province a 38-year-old male defence volunteer was killed in a drive-by shooting, police said.
Thailand's army chief warned earlier this week that unrest was likely to flare in the region during the Muslim fasting month, as it has in previous years since shadowy rebels launched an uprising in early 2004.
Rights groups say the militants are rebelling against a long history of perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims in the deep south by governments in the Buddhist-majority nation.