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Suspected Muslim insurgents killed three Buddhist women working on a project for victims of Thailand's insurgency Monday, after three Muslim children were killed in a weekend attack on a boarding school.
Increasing violence that has targeted children, commuters and other innocent bystanders has raised fears that the insurgency, which has already taken more than 2,000 lives, could erupt into open combat between the Muslim and Buddhist communities in the provinces along the Malaysian border.
The victims were headed to work at a farm project funded by Thailand's Queen Sirikit in the Nong Chik district of Pattani province, said police Lt. Phuen Khongdee.
The project was one of several in the area set up to help women widowed by the ongoing violence and teach them to grow vegetables, fruit and other basic necessities.
They were in a truck carrying 13 other female workers, who were unharmed.
Thailand was stunned by an attack Saturday evening on an Islamic boarding school in the southern province of Songkhla. Attackers hurled explosives and opened fire on the boys school's dormitory, leaving three young teens dead, police said.