Gunmen dressed as local officials killed three Muslim civilians at a tea shop in Thailand’s insurgency-hit south yesterday, according to police, in the latest act of violence in the festering rebellion.
Up to eight suspected rebels wearing government-style caps and carrying apparent official documents opened fire with machine guns on the tea shop in Raman District of Yala Province yesterday morning.
“They were dressed like security officials and carried official documents pretending that they were there to gather information,” Raman Police Major Prathuang Suwanchatri said.
“All three victims were former village headmen or deputy headmen who had cooperated with authorities in the past,” he said, adding that another person was injured in the shooting.
Yala is one of several provinces in Thailand’s Muslim-majority south, where about 5,700 people have been killed since the insurgency flared in 2004. Rounds of peace talks in Malaysia between Thai authorities and some rebel groups, including the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, had raised tentative hopes of peace. However, the rebels had threatened to pull out of the peace dialogue, although new discussions about the direction of the peace talks took place on Friday.
Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha said authorities were willing to continue talks next month.