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Three More Killings in Southern Thailand - 2004-03-22


New violence in southern Thailand has claimed three lives.

Two policemen were killed in separate incidents Monday and a village leader was murdered Sunday.

More than 50 people have died in two months of unrest in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south.

The violence began in January with a raid by suspected Muslim separatists on a military armory. Four Thai soldiers were killed in that raid, which coincided with the burning of 20 schools in the region. Dozens more buildings were torched last week.

At a news conference Sunday, Thai police presented a suspect in the January attacks, who alleged that several Muslim lawmakers in Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's party were behind the unrest. The lawmakers have denied the accusation.

On Friday, the prime minister removed his national police chief and a southern army commander from their posts, as he vowed to fight militants believed responsible for the unrest.

Last week, Mr. Thaksin fired his defense minister and demoted his interior minister.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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