NARATHIWAT, Thailand (AFP) — The unrest in Thailand's insurgency-hit Muslim-majority south showed no signs of abating Tuesday, with 10 people killed in a series of attacks and 27 wounded in a market bombing.
The explosion struck a fresh food market in Yala province as it was filling with shoppers on Tuesday evening. A hospital official in Yala town said two of the 27 wounded had to have limbs amputated.
Earlier Tuesday, a suspected separatist was killed in a clash with security forces in Yala, while a Muslim man whom police claimed was a key rebel leader was also shot dead in Narathiwat.
Suspected militants also opened fire on a teacher and headmaster from the same school in Narathiwat province, killing both the Buddhist men, police said.
On Monday, two imams from mosques in Narathiwat province were shot dead by rebels, police said, while in nearby Pattani three Muslim local government officials and an army sergeant were killed by gunmen.
The shootings take the total number of people killed in the last three days across insurgency-hit Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces to 18. They include a 12-year-old boy, shot alongside his father on Sunday.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont is due to visit the restive region on Wednesday, where violence appears to be escalating.
Yala's deputy governor told AFP that the militants, who are fighting for a separate state in the south, were exploiting a reshuffle and redeployment of troops ordered by new army chief General Anupong Paojinda.
"There is an increase in violent attacks after the end of Ramadan because militants have seized on the opportunity of the troop reshuffle -- new troops are not yet familiar with the area," Krisada Boonrach said.
Anupong last week promised to send more troops to the troubled region bordering Malaysia in an effort to stem the growing unrest.
More than 2,700 people have been killed since the latest unrest broke out in January 2004. The region was an ethnic Malay sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed it a century ago, provoking decades of tension.
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