State official beheaded in Thailand's troubled south

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Bangkok, Sep 9 (UNI) Suspected Islamic militants beheaded a a Buddhist state official in Thailand's troubled southern border province of Pattani today.

26-year-old Uttapong Konlam was ambushed by two gunmen on motorcycles while he was driving a pickup truck in Pattani's Yarang district. The assailants shot him in the head and then severed his head.

The attackers tried unsuccessfully to torch his truck and left a note with a threatening message on the scene, reports from Pattani said.

In another incident this morning, a Thai Army Ranger was gunned down by suspected separatists in adjoining Yala province.

More than 30 people have been decapitated by insurgents in Thailand's three southern Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani bordering Malaysia.

More than 3,500 people have been killed since January 2004 in separatist violence in the troubled southern provinces that are also ethnically and linguistically distinct from Buddhist-majority Thailand.

UNI XC ARB KN1600

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