Thailand is considering imposing curfews in parts of its Muslim-dominated deep south in an attempt to quell an eight-year-old insurgency, the deputy prime minister said Wednesday.
The remarks came a day after suspected militants detonated a car bomb outside a hotel in the restive region, slightly injuring four staff.
"We have to assess the situation," Deputy Prime Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa told reporters. "If a curfew is necessary we will impose it in certain area."
Yutthasak, who heads a new taskforce set up to deal with the southern unrest, said the authorities would reinforce police forces in the area.
A complex insurgency, without clearly stated aims, has plagued Thailand's far south near the border with Malaysia since 2004, claiming thousands of lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near-daily bomb or gun attacks.
The insurgents are not thought to be part of a global jihad movement but are instead rebelling against a long history of perceived discrimination against ethnic Malay Muslims by successive Thai governments.
The authorities have imposed emergency rule in the worst-affected parts of the region, which rights campaigners say effectively gives the army legal immunity.
The area sees an annual spike in unrest during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Two Muslim civilians were shot dead and four other men were wounded by suspected militants on a motorcycle who fired into a crowded tea shop in Pattani province on Tuesday, police said.
A Muslim deputy village headman was shot dead as he drove home in Pattani early Wednesday.© ANP/AFP