Thailand's police said Monday that Muslim rebels were suspected of killing six people in the country’s far south in attacks on Sunday and Monday, according to the Associated Press (AP). The reports of the incidents come amid celebrations of Thailand's traditional New Year from April 13 through April 15.
Two farmers -- a 54-year-old man and his 52-year-old wife -- were reportedly shot dead in Yala province, south of Bangkok, on Monday while they were working on their farm. Four other people were killed late Sunday night in Narathiwat province in Sukhirin district after several attackers targeted two houses about 150 yards from each other, Lt. Weerachai Parnnu told the AP.
Thousands of people have been killed in both the provinces since an Islamic separatist insurgency erupted in 2004, the AP reported. Local police are investigating the latest incident.
A police official reportedly said Muslim insurgents are believed to be behind the attacks because intelligence indicated there would be attacks on Buddhists during the New Year festival, also known as Songkran.
Ahead of the festival, a car bomb exploded at a shopping mall on the southern resort island of Samui on Friday night, injuring 12 people. Authorities reportedly said that evidence suggested political enemies of the junta might have carried out the attack. However, the bomb used in the incident was reportedly of the type used in many attacks in Thailand’s south.