Three police officers, in their late 20s, were killed and one was wounded on Friday after a bomb buried beneath a road exploded in Yala province in Thailand, authorities said.
"They were on a trip to gather intelligence," a police officer in Krongpinang district told AFP, without revealing his name.
The officer further said the assailants detonated the bomb and fired on the police from the surrounding jungle.
Krongpinang, which is a remote place and surrounded by densely forested hills, is an insurgency hot-spot where mistrust for Thai security forces runs high.
The ruling junta in Thailand said that it has tried to restart peace talks with the Muslim separatists since it took power in 2014. But, it is clear that the negotiations have failed as deadly attacks continue to strike across the region.
The critics have accused the junta of declaring support for a peace process but at the same time, they refused to pass on any political power to the region.
A report published this week by International Crisis Group said the junta "appears interested primarily in mere semblance of dialogue".
The insurgency which prevails in the Muslim-majority southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat is quite old. According to the independent monitoring group Deep South Watch, the attacks have claimed lives of more than 6,500 people since 2014.
In August, a series of bombings killed four Thais and injured many people, including foreigners. The bombings were targeted at tourist spots and the authorities believed that the southern insurgents were responsible for the attacks.
However, the Thai authorities have rejected to link the August attacks to the southern militants.
Thailand's military government and Muslim separatists ended their last peace talks with an agreement to meet again as the insurgents denied the responsibility for the series of bombings that took place in August.