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Bomb kills nine in Thai south: police

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Security forces stand near the site of a roadside blast in Southern Thailand. – Reuters (File Photo)

YALA, Thailand: A bomb struck restive southern Thailand killing nine villagers and injuring another two, police said, in the latest violence to hit the insurgency-wracked region.

The roadside device exploded at around 5:30 pm (1030 GMT) in a village in Yala province, police told AFP, with all the victims thought to be Buddhists returning home from work.

Shadowy Islamic insurgents have waged a violent campaign in Thailand's southernmost region bordering Malaysia since early 2004, leaving more than 4,400 people dead, including both Muslims and Buddhists.

Thailand extended emergency rule last week in most of the Muslim-majority region for another three months, despite rights groups' concerns about the powers given to the military.

Three Muslim civilians, including a married couple, were shot dead by an unknown gunman in the same area on January 21, according to police.

This followed an unusually brazen attack by armed rebels on a Thai military base in Narathiwat last week, killing at least four soldiers and wounding several more.

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