Three paramilitary soldiers and a woman were shot dead by militants who then torched their bodies in an early morning ambush in Thailand’s restive south, police said Saturday. The victims were attacked as they drove to a market in Yala, one of the hotbeds of the eight-year insurgency which has claimed around 5,300 lives in Thailand’s Muslim-majority border provinces. “I think that they had already died before the gunmen set fire to their pick-up truck,” said Lieutenant Colonel Charas Chinapong, of Muang district police, adding that the bodies were found inside the truck. Hundreds of bullet cases were found at the scene, he said. A lattice of militant groups who want greater autonomy carry out near-daily attacks in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces. In response to an uptick in the violence over the summer Thai authorities have said they are stepping up efforts to talk with militant leaders but analysts are sceptical of the likelihood of peace in the near future.