Commuters killed 'execution style'

Suspected Muslim insurgents hurled a bomb at a commuter van in Thailand’s restive south today and then opened fire on its Buddhist passengers, killing eight of them execution-style.

Suspected Muslim insurgents hurled a bomb at a commuter van in Thailand’s restive south today and then opened fire on its Buddhist passengers, killing eight of them execution-style.

Two other people – a passenger and the driver – were injured in the morning attack and taken to hospital with gun shot wounds to the head, said police Lt Kitti Mankhong, a duty officer in the Yaha district of Yala province, where the violence occurred. Suspected insurgents bombed the van as it slowed into a curve in the road, Kitti said.

Armed with assault rifles, the attackers first shot the driver in the face and then opened the side door of the van and fired at each of the passengers, he said.

“Everyone was shot in the head at close range, execution style,” Kitti said.

The van was shuttling people from the Betong district of Yala province to Hat Yai, the south’s major city, in the neighbouring province of Songkhla.

All of the passengers were identified as Buddhists and the driver was Muslim.

Police and soldiers were searching for the attackers, he said.

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