Three Dead in Southern Thai Prison Riot

Three Dead in Southern Thai Prison Riot

Inmates burnt down two buildings at a southern Thai jail during a six-hour riot that left three prisoners dead and several officials injured, authorities said today.

The mutiny broke out yesterday afternoon when nearly 100 prisoners in southern Pattani province set fire to the jail's cooking quarters, according to a military spokesman.

He said the prison warden tried to control the rebellion but was pummelled by stones and called for police reinforcement.

Around a hundred officers arrived at the scene and quelled the rioters before midnight, by that time a second building had been burned down and three prisoners were dead, said Thanongsak Wangsupa, the provincial police commander.

"Three prisoners were killed before police stormed the prison," he told AFP, adding that the men died in a brawl with other inmates.

Two prison staff sustained injuries, he added.

After the riot, the prisoners handed authorities a written list of 14 demands, including requests for more family visits and freedom to watch the news on television.

They also called for a change of command at the prison, which houses around 1,800 inmates, and the ability to receive food from relatives.

"All of their demands are illegal and none will be complied with," Thanongsak told AFP.

Pattani is one of three southern provinces in Thailand wracked by a years-long battle between Muslim separatists and the Buddhist-run state.

More than 6,500 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in near-daily shootings and bomb attacks since 2004.

The area is governed by emergency laws and awash with state security officers, who rights groups have accused of torture, extrajudicial killings and other abuses.

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