Pattani insurgents kill three Thai policemen

Three Thai policemen were killed and one was seriously injured in a bomb attack in a five-year separatist rebellion in Pattani region.

Pattani insurgents kill three Thai policemen
Three Thai policemen were killed and one was seriously injured in a bomb attack in a five-year separatist rebellion in Pattani region, police said on Thursday.

The 20 kg (44 lb) bomb was buried along a rural road in Nongjik in Pattani.

Pattani, southern Thailand, was an independent Muslim sultanate until it was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand a century ago. The majority of the population is Muslim and Malay-speaking, with few links to the rest of Thailand.

The people of the region have struggled for independence. 3,500 people have been killed in Thailand forces clash against pro-independent insurgents during a five-year pro-independence insurgency.

"One of those three was a deputy superintendent of Nongjik police station. They were killed while they were guarding teachers on the school bus," a police official said.

The rebels have never revealed themselves publicly or claimed responsibility for the violence, which has remained limited to the rubber-producing region abutting the Malaysian border.

Amnesty said the government and military chiefs in Bangkok had issued frequent directives against torture, but the abuse "remained sufficiently frequent and widespread that it cannot be dismissed as the work of a few errant subordinates in isolated instances".

Tensions have always been high in the four southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and Songkhla, where 80 percent of the population are Muslim and have more in common with neighbouring Malaysia, speaking a Malay dialect.

New Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has pledged to resolve the southern conflict, although his comments echo those of his four predecessors, none of whom made any headway.

Amnesty said Abhisit should close more than 20 unofficial detention centres where abuse has been reported and rescind parts of the martial law that has given blanket immunity to soldiers and police in the region, before prosecuting abusers.

Reuters
Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2009, 23:55
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