Six people have been killed, including a toddler and two teachers, and five others seriously wounded in two brazen shooting attacks in the deep South.
The first incident took place in Narathiwat's Rangae district Tuesday morning when gunmen on a pickup truck fired AK-47 and M16 assault rifles into a tea shop, killing three people instantly including a toddler, and wounding six others at the scene.
One of the wounded died later in hospital bringing the number of dead to four.
The dead victims were identified as Samueree Thoh, 32; Yameesi Jehdoh, 23; Infani Samo, an 11-month-old girl; and Bisma Musor, 25.
The seriously injured were first taken to Rangae Hospital and later relocated to Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Hospital.
Bisma died later at Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Hospital.
Pol Capt Boonsak Noomaad, duty officer at Rangae police station, said he received a report of the shooting about 7.13am.
He led a team of soldiers and police to the scene and found at least 40 spent cartridges from AK-47 and M16 assault rifles scattered in front of the teashop.
Security forces were hunting for the attackers, believed to be members of a separatist group led by Amran Ming which is thought to have been responsible for much of the violence in tambon Bor-ngor of Rangae district.
The second attack took place in nearby Pattani province. Police said they received a report of the shooting about 12.50pm.
Gunmen attacked a school in Mayo district, killing the school director and a teacher.
Police said at least five men in police uniforms burst into Ban Ba-ngo school in tambon Panan of Mayo district.
They shot and killed Tiyarat Chuaykaew, the school director, and Somsak Kwanma, a teacher, before stealing a pickup truck belonging to a teacher and speeding away in it.
Police said the attackers were insurgents.
Since the latest spate of violence flared up in the deep South in January 2004, 157 teachers have been killed.
State schools in Narathiwat reopened Tuesday after striking teachers accepted improved measures for their safety following attacks on their colleagues last week.
Education officials from several districts announced that 378 schools in Narathiwat had resumed classes and that security forces were implementing new safety measures.
Chatsuda Nilsuwan, a 32-year-old female teacher at Ban Ta-ngo School, was shot dead by a motorcycle pillion rider last Monday.
Teerapol Choosongsang, 52, a male teacher at Ban Borkoh School, was badly wounded when shot twice last Tuesday by four men who approached him on motorbikes.
Security forces have now introduced stricter safety procedures to protect educators from attacks.
Col Pramote Promin, spokesman for the 4th Region Forward Command of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), condemned yesterday's insurgent attacks.
Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group Tuesday issued its latest report examining the evolution of the conflict in the deep South and policy responses of the past two years.
Insurgents have withstood and adapted to the military's tactics, growing more proficient and daring in the process, it said.
While there is greater pressure on leaders to reduce violence and seek a resolution, political infighting and bureaucratic inertia continue to impinge on a comprehensive approach.
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