Four killed, 2 wounded in Muslim Thai south
Sun Aug 26, 7:29 AM ET

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) - Three militants and a soldier were killed in a shoot-out as Thai forces searched a house for suspected insurgents in Thailand's rebellious Muslim south on Sunday, soldiers said.

Two soldiers were also wounded and three militants arrested after a 10-minute exchange of fire in Yala, one of three far south provinces where more than 2,500 people have been killed in a separatist insurgency which erupted in January 2004.

"We opened fire after our soldier was shot in the head as we were searching the house," the commander of a Yala-based task force told reporters.

One of the three arrested militants was wanted in connection with some of the almost daily gun and bomb attacks in the region, where most people are Muslim, ethnic Malay and do not speak Thai as a first language, the soldiers said.

One of the three militants killed was also wanted for taking part in the insurgency in the former sultanate annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand a century ago.

The organization of the militants remains murky and nobody claims responsibility for the attacks on security forces and anyone they believe is cooperating with them.