Islamic ultras kill three in Thailand

Bangkok, August 27:

Suspected Islamic rebels killed a village chief and two civil defence volunteers — a father and his son — in southern Thailand, police said today, amid continuing sectarian violence that has claimed hundreds of lives since early last year. Chan Yingkansong, 60, and his son Somkid, 28, died when suspected insurgents raked their house with gunfire yesterday in Yala province,

said a local police officer, Lt Col Panpitak Thepchoodaeng. The attackers also stole a shotgun from the house, he added.

Also yesterday, a 37-year-old village chief, Mahae Wantheh, was fatally shot by gunmen who were hiding in bushes near his house in nearby Narathiwat province, said police Lt Jenvit Oonseim. Mahae was hit five times and died at the scene, he said. The incidents were the latest in a spate of attacks to hit three of Thailand’s southernmost provinces — Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat — among the only Muslim-dominated parts of this largely Buddhist country. The area has seen almost daily attacks, many of them drive-by shootings, that have left as many as 900 people dead since January last year. Authorities have blamed the revival of a long-dormant Muslim separatist movement for the bloodshed.