6 people killed during suspected Muslim insurgents strike in Thailand

Four villagers and two insurgents were killed in the attacks in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani along the Malaysian border. The attacks took place over a period of about two hours, and two of the victims were village chiefs. The situation remained chaotic after the nighttime attacks ended as government forces attempted to hunt down the attackers, ITV reported.

More than 1,100 people have died in sectarian violence since an active separatist movement re-emerged in January last year in Thailand's southernmost, Muslim-majority provinces.

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, but up to 10 percent of the country's 65 million people are Muslims, most living in the three southernmost provinces, where they have long complained of second-class treatment.

The feeling of alienation has contributed to several separatist rebellions in the area over the past century.

Earlier Wednesday, police said the southern separatists have adopted the same tactics as insurgents in Iraq and Indonesia, and their violence has caused 450 deaths so far this year, and 668 the year before, the AP reports.

The casualties from the insurgency this year up to Oct. 24 include 38 police officers, 19 soldiers and 393 civil servants or civilians killed, and more than 1,000 people injured, police Lt. Gen. Achirawit Suphanaphesat, spokesman for National Police Bureau, said at a news conference. A.M.

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