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Rebels kill 2 police, bomb troops in Thai south

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 27 Jul 2011 10:39 GMT
Author: Reuters
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PATTANI, Thailand, July 27 (Reuters) - Suspected insurgents waging a separatist rebellion in Thailand's Muslim deep south killed two police and wounded two soldiers in separate gun and bomb attacks on Wednesday, police said.

Militants armed with M-16 assault rifles ambushed two policemen riding on a motorcycle in Pattani province, killing one instantly. The other succumbed to bullet wounds on the way to hospital.

In a second incident in the same province, rebels planted a home made bomb in a roadside shrub and detonated the device as three soldiers rode past on motorcycles, wounding two.

In Narathiwat province bordering Malaysia, two battery-operated bombs exploded on a railway track, destroying it in two spots about 200 metres apart and disrupting train services.

Bomb disposal officials sent to the scene deactivated explosive booby traps laid for them by the militants.

Thailand's Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces, which are dominated by ethnic Malay Muslims, have seen a spike in violence this year, with roadside blasts and ambushes occurring regularly.

Some analysts say violence in recent weeks could be an attempt by shadowy rebels to attract the attention of a new government expected to take office by the middle of next month.

About 4,600 people have been killed and nearly 9,000 wounded in violence since 2004 in the three provinces, which were once an independent sultanate until annexed by Thailand in 1909. (Reporting by Surapan Boonthanom; Writing Vithoon Amorn; Editing by Martin Petty and Ron Popeski)

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