Insurgents shot dead two soldiers before detonating a bomb at a supermarket that killed five civilians. PHOTO: AFP
YALA: Insurgents shot dead two soldiers before detonating a bomb at a supermarket that killed five civilians in the southern Thai province of Narathiwat, police said on Monday.
The attacks took place late on Sunday, when ethnic Malay militants in pickup trucks opened fire on troops guarding a checkpoint in the downtown area of the province bordering Malaysia, about 1,200 km south of Bangkok.
Ten minutes later, police said a bomb exploded at a supermarket, with flames engulfing four buildings. The charred bodies of a Muslim woman and a Buddhist shop owner and three members of his family were found later.
More than 4,800 people have been killed in violence since 2004 in the predominantly ethnic Malay Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, where 40,000 troops have been deployed to try to halt near-daily shootings and bombings.
The counterinsurgency effort, which has cost billions of dollars, has failed to curtail the violence, with the reclusive movement’s leadership and goals still unknown to the government of the majority Buddhist country.