Thai authorities and Muslim separatist leaders on Thursday started peace talks in Malaysia aimed at ending almost a decade of unrest in the country’s far south, as a fresh attack by suspected militants killed three Thai soldiers.

Violence has occurred nearly every day in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated three southern provinces since the insurgency erupted in 2004, and more than 5,000 people have been killed. Muslims in the region, which was an independent Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century, have long complained of discrimination. — AP