Suspected Islamist militants shot and killed two women and three men in a spike of violence in Thailand’s restive south during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, local police said yesterday.
A Thai Buddhist man, aged 60, and his 52-year-old wife were killed in a drive-by shooting early on Friday evening as they returned home from a market in Pattani Province.
Both died at the scene, police said.
Later that night in the same province, a 21-year-old Muslim man was shot and killed as he traveled by motorcycle with a village chief, who was also wounded, on their way to guard a local school.
In Yala Province, a 26-year-old Muslim woman was also shot dead on Friday night on her return from a market.
A 40-year-old army sub-lieutenant died in hospital early yesterday after he was shot in the head while he met local residents in Narathiwat Province on Friday afternoon, police said.
The bloodshed comes after authorities warned of the potential for a large-scale attack during Ramadan, which began on Aug. 12 in Thailand.
In previous years, violence has intensified during the holy month.
Thailand last month extended emergency rule in the three troubled Muslim-majority southern provinces until October, as it struggles to quell unrest that has left more than 4,100 people dead in six years.
The shadowy militants, whose exact goals are unclear, have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims, including many civilians.
Educational institutions and teachers are frequently targeted by the insurgents.