» 12/29/2006, 00.00
Two Buddhist teachers killed in south
Suspected Islamic militants shot the victims and burned their bodies. There is no let-up in violence in the former independent Islamic sultanate.
Yala (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Suspected Islamic militants this morning shot dead two Buddhist teachers and then set their bodies ablaze near the school where they used to teach in southern Thailand, local police said.
The charred remains of the bodies were found 100 metres from the school entrance, near the pickup truck they were driving when the militants attacked.
One of the victims, Chamnong Koopathanaphong, was the principal of the school in Yala province and the second man Manoo Sornkaew, was a teacher at the school. Police said they believed the two were dead before their bodies were set on fire.
The southern region of the country is a battleground of bloody clashes between the Muslim and Buddhist communities. The region, which borders Malaysia, was an independent sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in 1902. Now a group of Muslim militants is seeking independence once again from Bangkok through violent means. Since January 2004, clashes have already claimed 1,700 victims.
Thailand's new military-installed government, which came to power following a pacific coup in September, has made a number of offers to leaders of the insurrection in a bid to make peace in the region, but so far they have been turned down.
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Islamic separatists are suspected of being behind the umpteenth murder of a teacher in the area. The Defence Minister claimed there is a lack of coordination between government forces to stop the violence.
Teachers and their families targeted by rebels in south
There is no let-up in violence against Buddhist minorities in the southern provinces. On Friday, two teachers were kept hostage for three hours. More than 100 schools have been closed out of fear.
Southern Thailand: five killed in less than 24 hours
Despite the overtures of the provisional government, there is no letup in violence in the southern provinces. A Muslim official of Narathiwat administration was among the victims.
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Islamic separatists may not be behind yesterdays bombings in Hat Yai which left at least 13 people seriously wounded. According to police the authors of the attacks did not intend to kill but spread uncertainty and political confusion.
Inter-religious violence continues in Thailand
Violence between people of different faiths is on the rise in the country. According to public security, killings are perpetrated "as part of a political agitation campaign".
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