Bomb leaves six dead in Thailand's restive south

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At least six people have been killed and 40 others injured by a bomb explosion near a market in Thailand's restive south, police say.

The bomb went off after gunmen opened fire at a shop in Sai Buri district, Pattani province, drawing in onlookers, officials say.

The incident happened after Friday prayers in the mainly Muslim region.

A separatist insurgency in Thailand's south has killed more than 5,000 people since it flared up again in 2004.

Successive Thai governments have launched initiatives to try to end this conflict, some using military force, some offering negotiations.

But none has made any progress with an entrenched, village-based insurgent movement which has no public face and makes no claims or demands, reports the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok.

The Thai security forces have demonstrated little capability to fight such a movement, which remains attractive to young Malay Muslim men, and has been able to prosper from the corruption and lawlessness that is characteristic of Thailand's border regions, adds our correspondent.

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