YALA: Suspected Islamic insurgents have shot and killed three people including a Muslim policeman in southern Thailand Saturday in the first fatal attacks since the start of Ramadan, police said.
The police officer was the victim of an early morning drive-by shooting as he rode his motorcycle in the Yaring district of Pattani province.
In a separate attack, a Buddhist couple aged 42 and 41, were gunned down on their way to work at a rubber plantation in Yala.
The bloodshed comes as authorities have warned of the potential for a large scale attack during the Muslim holy month, which began on Thursday in Thailand.
Yala governor Krissada Boonrach has asked all provincial security agencies to prepare for an escalation in violence.
Thailand last month extended emergency rule in three troubled Muslim-majority southern provinces until October as it struggles to quell unrest that has left more than 4,100 people dead in six years.
The shadowy militants, whose exact goals are unclear, have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims, including many civilians.
BDST:12:00 HRS, August 14, 2010