World News

Buddhist killed, burned in Thailand's deep south

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) - A Buddhist man was shot dead as he repaired a motorcycle on Wednesday in Thailand’s far south and his body was set on fire, police said, the latest deadly violence in the Muslim-majority region.

The body of the 37-year-old man in Pattani province was found in a motorcycle shop at around 11:30 a.m. (0430 GMT). Police said he was shot several times by four gunmen.

In a separate incident, a 74-year-old Buddhist food store owner was killed in a drive-by shooting while riding a motorcycle home in Pattani. Police said two suspected insurgents had followed the victim after he left his store.

The troubled southern region bordering Malaysia, only a few hours by car from some of Thailand’s best-known tourist beaches, has seen an upsurge in violence as Malay Muslims fight for autonomy from Thailand’s Buddhist majority.

The violence has ranged from drive-by shootings to bombings and beheadings. It often targets Buddhists and Muslims associated with the Thai state, such as police officers, soldiers, government officials and teachers.

At least four other people, including one policeman killed during a shoot-out with suspected insurgents, have died in violence involving alleged separatists this week.

Reporting by Surapan Boonthanom; Writing by Ploy Ten Kate; Editing by Alan Raybould