BANGKOK: Clashes between security forces and youths who
launched attacks on police and army checkpoints in Thailand's Muslim south have
left up to 65 people dead, authorities said.
Regional police commander Prung Boonpadung said officers battled armed groups in 10 locations in the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Songkhla.
"The attackers were mostly teenagers, and they targeted police and army checkpoints," he said, adding that 60 attackers and about four or five police and army officers were killed.
"There were clashes at six checkpoints in Yala, three in Pattani and one in Songkhla," Prung said.
The attacks are the latest in a series of bombings, raids and murders in Thailand's five southern provinces bordering Malaysia, which have targeted security forces, government officials and Buddhist monks.
A separatist movement raged in the region until the 1980s until a government campaign largely ended the violence.
Trouble flared again this year, beginning on January 4 with a highly organised attack on an army weapons depot which left four soldiers dead.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist nation but about five percent of the population is Muslim, and most live in the five southern provinces bordering Malaysia.
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