Ten Muslim villagers have been killed while offering evening prayers when a gunman has reported to have fired assault rifles into a mosque.
Many Muslims believe that the mosque massacre was in retaliation for the killing of a young Buddhist rubber plantation worker in a nearby district earlier in the day. The circumstances and brutality of these attacks this month have revived fears that a long-running insurgency in Thailand's south could be evolving into a sectarian conflict pitting Buddhists against Muslims.
These insurgency attacks have supposed to have started from the year 2004 by Islamic separatists, which has sparked of a cycle of army repression and rebellion that has left more than 3,500 people dead.
The government has been ineffective in curbing these attacks and has further worsened the problem as it has increasingly been arming civilian self-defense forces mostly all Buddhist to protect villagers.
'Communities can no longer distinguish between security officers, insurgents and criminals,' says a report completed just before the recent attacks by Nonviolence International, a US-based pacifist group.