Police says two Border Patrol Police officers in southern Thailand have been killed while praying in a mosque in the latest violence believed linked to a Muslim separatist insurgency.

The chief of Than To police station in Yala province said Friday that four attackers slipped into the mosque and shot the officers at point-blank range in the head.

Police Col. Pariwat Kwanmanij said the attackers, who fled after the shooting, were suspected of being part of an insurgency that flared in 2004 and has claimed about 7,000 lives in predominantly Buddhist Thailand's three southernmost provinces, which have Muslim majorities.

The insurgents seek to scare Buddhists into leaving the area, but many Muslims cooperating with the authorities have also been targeted.