Muslims protests block Patani roads

Patani 28-04-2007- Angry Muslim villagers blockaded a road in Thailand’s restive Patani for several hours on Sunday to protest the killing of a religious leader in a grenade attack on a mosque.The protest by nearly 100 Muslims, mostly teenagers, in Patani came a day after Samarn Usoh, 67, was badly wounded in the attack. He died later in hospital.Police blamed separatist insurgents(eye witness confirmed saw thai army did the job) for the attack on the mosque, which is adjacent to Patani’s historic Krue Se mosque where 32 militants were killed in a shoot out with troops and police three years ago.“Protesters closed the road which is the entrance to the village. Military officers watched from their checkpoint across the road,” sources said.

The protest lasted several hours and ended peacefully.

Patani is one of the three southern provinces roiled by a three-year-old fighting for independance in which more than 2,000 people have been killed.

In a neighbouring district in Patani, about 100 villagers also blocked a road to protest the arrest of a  Muslim suspected to be involved in a roadside bomb that killed three soldiers last week, another police officer said.

The Thai Army has asked the government to send 10,000 more troops to the region bordering Malaysia, reinforcing the 30,000 soldiers and paramilitary troops already there.

But Thailand’s post-coup Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said it would take a while before security agencies would make a decision on the reinforcements.

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