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Thai Buddhist woman killed and burned

Thai Buddhist woman killed and burned

Author:
Publication: The Age
Date: April 11, 2007
URL: http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/thai-buddhist-woman-killed-and-burned/2007/04/11/1175971159708.html

A Buddhist woman was shot dead and her body set ablaze early today in Thailand's restive Muslim-majority south, police said, as the country's junta leader began a visit to the region.

Police said the 26-year-old's body was burned beyond recognition after she was killed while on her way to work on the outskirts of Yala town.

"It's the work of the same group of militants who are active in this predominantly Muslim village," they said.

The province of Yala has seen a surge in attacks this year, with 10 people killed on Monday alone. Four of them were shot dead while returning from the burial of a bombing victim.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in three years of unrest in the southern region along the border with Malaysia.

Thailand's junta leader, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin travelled to nearby Pattani province today for a two-day visit to meet with Muslim religious leaders as well as local government and military chiefs.

Sonthi told reporters as he arrived in Pattani that the insurgents' attacks had become more lethal, even as the number of incidents had fallen.

"The attacks have decreased in number, but the militants have adjusted their strategies to be more violent and brutal in order to terrify people," he said.

Sonthi said he feared the Islamic separatists were trying to spark a broader communal conflict, and urged both Buddhists and Muslims to work to reduce tensions between the faiths.

"Don't fall into their trap. Villagers must be patient. The militants want to create a sectarian war," he said.

Sonthi is the first Muslim to head the army in mainly Buddhist Thailand. After he seized power in a coup in September, he installed a government that promptly unveiled a raft of peace measures for the region.

But the violence has escalated, and the government remains uncertain who exactly is behind the attacks. No one has claimed responsibility for them or made any specific demands of the government.


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