09/29/2010, 00.00
THAILAND
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Thailand, Islamic rebels disguised as policemen fire on crowd: 5 dead and 3 injured

The attack took place yesterday evening in a village in Pattani province with a Muslim majority. Two children are also among the dead.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A group of Islamic rebels triggered a shootout last night in a village in Pattani province, killing five people including two children.

According to initial police reports, the militants presented themselves in the village market dressed as police officers and began firing on people without distinguishing between Muslims and Buddhists.

The attack left five dead, three people were injured and at the moment are in a critical condition. Among them a girl of 10.

Before disappearing the attackers set fire to some vehicles.

In Thailand, approximately 85% of the population is Buddhist. The southern provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani are home to a Muslim majority and were once an independent Malaysian sultanate . The current tensions began in 2004 because of a separatist revolt in Muslim-majority areas. In six years more than 4300 people were killed in attacks and summary killings. In the long series of deaths, the most frequent target of Islamic rebels are teachers. Muslims see state schools as an attempt to impose Buddhist culture. Since 2008 153 teachers have been killed.

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