Thai Jihad Update from Agence France-Presse:
NARATHIWAT, Thailand (AFP) – A Buddhist man was shot dead by suspected separatist militants on Thursday in Thailand’s restive south, police said, after two Muslims were killed overnight.
Which adjective will news organizations wear out when they decide it’s gotten worse than “restive?”
All three were killed in Narathiwat province in drive-by shootings blamed on southern militants who are fighting for an independent state.
In a separate incident in Pattani province, two soldiers were wounded in a bomb blast as they protected a group of Buddhist monks on their morning rounds to collect alms.
The violence followed a powerful roadside bombing Wednesday that tossed an army patrol truck into the air and killed all seven soldiers inside.
More than 2,100 people have died in separatist violence in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat since January 2004, and unrest is growing despite peace-building moves by the government.
Army-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont plans to travel to the region on Sunday for a one-day visit with his two deputy prime ministers and seven cabinet ministers.
Surayud said he wanted to give cabinet members first-hand experience of the unrest in the region, where they would meet military and civilian officials in Pattani and Yala.
Some 200 Muslims in Yala broke up their week-long blockade of a major highway on Thursday after negotiations with the provincial governor, local officials said, but in nearby Narathiwat a new protest got underway.
About 100 Muslim women and children gathered in the main provincial town to demand the authorities release 12 suspected militants who were arrested after security forces found 50 machetes in their belonging.