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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
More unrest in southern Thailand
Thai soldiers clear nails from the road left by suspected insurgents in Yala province on 17 October 2006
A high security presence has not stopped the violence in the region
At least six people have been killed in a spate of violence in south Thailand.

Two government workers were among the latest victims to be killed in drive-by shootings across the region.

Thailand's new premier, Surayud Chulanont, is travelling to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday for talks with his Malaysian counterpart Abdullah Badawi.

The continuing insurgency in southern Thailand - which has claimed more than 1,500 lives since January 2004 - is expected to dominate the discussions.

Officials blame Muslim rebels for much of the unrest, although criminal gangs are also thought to be behind some of the attacks.

Thailand's new military rulers, who took over the country in a coup last month, said they wanted to hold talks with the insurgents - a policy change from the previous regime, which repeatedly refused negotiations.

Restive region

The spate of killings began on Monday morning, when two rubber tappers in Yala were shot by the roadside.

Police told local media that two gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire on the couple.

Later the same day, two government workers were reportedly shot dead in the same area, and several other people have also been killed in Narathiwat province. A policeman was also reported to be among the dead.

The southern provinces are predominantly Muslim, with a separate language and culture to much of the rest of Thailand.

Despite a heavy Thai security presence, attacks such as drive-by shootings or small bombings take place almost daily.




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