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BANGKOK: An 11-year-old boy was among six people killed in a spate of shootings in Thailand’s restive south, police said yesterday, as a violence continues to roil the Muslim-majority area.
In a bloody day on Wednesday, two militants were killed and two policemen wounded in a shootout at a house in the Raman district of Yala province.
Shortly afterwards a 56-year-old janitor and his 11-year-old son were shot dead by unknown assailants in an ambush in the same area as they travelled back from school.
“The janitor’s nine-year-old son was also critically wounded in the attack,” the police statement said yesterday.
Raman is a militant stronghold, or “red zone”, which is frequently rocked by attacks targeting security forces or locals accused of collaborating with the Thai authorities.
Later Wednesday two Buddhists, a 28-year-old woman and 47-year-old man, died as militants sprayed bullets into the crowd at a local festival in Sai Buri, Pattani province, also wounding four others.
The deaths marked another grisly day in Thailand’s eight-year insurgency which has left more than 5,300 people dead in the kingdom’s three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
A surge in violence since the summer has prompted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to pledge to redouble efforts to end the conflict.
In September, a nine-year-old Muslim boy accidentally stepped on a bomb planted at the side of the road as he walked home from a grocery shop with two friends.
The explosion tore off the child’s left leg and left the other boys, both also aged nine, with minor injuries.
Police said investigations into the deaths would consider a potential drug-related conflict as well as the insurgency.
The militants are rebelling against a history of perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims by successive Thai governments and alleged rights abuses by the army.