YALA, Thailand - Gunmen opened fire on a group of villagers at a tea shop in Thailand's Muslim south on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding 15 others, police said, the latest attack amid an upsurge of violence in the restive region bordering Malaysia.
Four assailants dressed in camouflaged uniforms and riding in the back of a pickup truck shot into the crowded tea shop in Bannang Sata, Yala province before fleeing the scene. Police blamed the attack on separatist rebels.
"They dressed like soldiers and we suspect that it was in an attempt to blame the attack on the authorities and add to distrust and anxieties," Yala province governor Krisada Boonraj told Reuters.
The violence has killed more than 4,500 people, both Muslims and Buddhists, in the rubber-rich Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces bordering Malaysia since a decades-old separatist rebellion against the Buddhist-dominated Thai state resurfaced in January 2004.