November 16, 2005

Muslims shot dead in southern Thai raid

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Militants raided a village in
Thailand's restive Muslim-majority south overnight, shooting
dead up to nine people and wounding eight others, the army said
on Wednesday.

Residents of Baan Gra Thong, a Muslim village in the
southern province of Narathiwat, were blaming the killings on
security forces and were barring police and army officials from
entry, southern Army spokesman Acra Tiprote said.

But he said the army was not responsible.

"This is the work of troublemakers who created the incident
and blamed it on security officials," the spokesman said.

"We have learned that eight or nine people were killed and
eight people injured, including children, women and old

Police, who were still trying to negotiate entry to the
village on Wednesday morning, said they first received reports
of the raid at around 2 a.m. (1900 GMT).

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in a two-year campaign
of separatist violence in Thailand's three southernmost
provinces, which used to be an independent sultanate until
being formally annexed by Bangkok a century ago.