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Teacher Killed in Thai South; Probe Reveals Protestors Were Shot

A Buddhist teacher has been shot dead in Thailand’s restive south, as reports emerge that security forces had fired directly on Muslims rioting at the seaside town of Tak Bai last month. Police said a physical education teacher was gunned down while returning to his home from a funeral, becoming the latest victim in violence which has claimed more than 540 lives this year. “45-year-old teacher Hiran Kongcharoen was shot twice early Friday morning by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle in Yala’s Yarang district, a police spokesman told AFP. The shooting came amid media reports Friday that an independent commission investigating the deaths of 87 Muslims protesters in the south last month had accused some security force members of firing directly into the crowd. Commission member Isma-ae Ali told the Bangkok Post that gunshot wounds on seven of those killed in rioting at Tak Bai suggested not all security force members had fired in the air as the government had claimed. A total of 87 people died but the inquiry team is focusing primarily on 78 who were rounded up by security forces, piled into trucks and died largely through suffocation after a the riot. The team’s head, former parliamentary ombudsman Pichet Sunthornpipit, reportedly said the team had also been appalled to learn that as many as 23 protesters had suffocated in a single truck. The commission’s investigation is not expected to be completed until next month.Full Story

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