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.