World Bulletin / News Desk
A Muslim leader seen as a major figure in efforts to end bloody fighting in Thailand's south has been shot dead, raising concern about the future of peace talks.
Imam Yacob Raimanee of the Pattani Central Mosque - the main house of Islamic worship in one of several violence-plagued southern provinces - was gunned down on Monday afternoon in the town of Pattani, police said.
The killing came despite an agreement between Thailand and Muslim rebels from the region to try to avoid bloodshed during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends this week.
The fighting in the Muslim-dominated region has claimed more than 5,700 lives since 2004, with bombings, shootings.
The southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat were once part of an independent Malay Muslim sultanate until annexed by Buddhist Thailand in 1909. About 80 percent of residents are Malay-speaking Muslims, while most of Thailand is populated by Thai-speaking Buddhists.Last Mod: 06 Ağustos 2013, 16:24