Suspected Muslim insurgents killed nine civilians in a flurry of attacks in the insurgency-plagued southern Thailand, the army said Tuesday, the fifth anniversary of a bloody assault by security forces against militants at a mosque.
In the deadliest incident, at least six gunmen in a pickup truck stormed into a house in Yala province late Monday, opening fire on a Muslim family of five, army spokesman Col. Parinya Chaidilok said. Four people including a 16-year-old girl were killed. A 13-year-old girl was wounded.
Parinya says two Muslim men were later found dead outside a nearby mosque. Thai security officials blamed Islamic insurgents bent on stirring up communal tension between Buddhists and Muslims.
The incidents came ahead of the fifth anniversary of the April 28, 2004, assault on the Krue Se mosque by Thai security forces, in which 32 insurgents were killed in a hail of rocket-propelled grenade and assault-rifle fire.