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Thailand: 3 rebels, 1 soldier killed in Muslim south

Thailand: 3 rebels, 1 soldier killed in Muslim south
Insurgents killed after government forces moved in to clear insurgent camp in troubled Narathiwat Province

By CS Thana

BANGKOK (AA) - Three separatist insurgents were killed in Thailand’s troubled Muslim south Wednesday after clashes with government forces.

Channel 7 Television reported the clashes happened around 6 a.m. (2300GMT Tuesday) in Narathiwat Province when government forces moved in to clear an insurgent camp in Chanae district.

Insurgents reportedly opened fire on the government forces, prompting a firefight that lasted around an hour.

Local officials told Channel 7 that three insurgents were left dead and one security official injured in the operation.

Meanwhile, another clash in Rangae district left a soldier dead, according to the Bangkok Post, which said additional details were not available.

The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between the Malay Muslims living in the southern region and the Thai central state where Buddhism is considered the de-facto national religion.

Armed insurgent groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools, but the insurgency faded in the 1990s.

It surged again in 2004 and rapidly escalated as the government of then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra severely repressed the rebels, leading to numerous human rights abuses.

Over 6,500 people -- Buddhists and Muslims -- have been killed and over 11,000 injured since 2004.

After a marked decrease in violence in 2015, the number of incidents since the beginning of 2016 has increased, with several large-scale operations.

On Feb. 27, a car bomb in Pattani province injured seven police officers, while a March 13 raid in broad daylight on a hospital in Cho Airong district in Narathiwat left seven security volunteers and soldiers injured.

source: News Feed
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