A five-year-old girl and a local government official were shot dead and 11 people were injured in southern Thailand when gunmen burst into a Buddhist temple during an annual fair.

Police said a group of assailants opened fire inside the temple in Surat Thani province on Sunday, killing 52-year-old Songwuth Noppakun in an apparent targeted assassination.

''According to witnesses, four to six gunmen followed the officer into the temple's annual fair and shot him. Then there was gunfight in which innocent people died and were injured,'' Police Colonel Jumnoch Kaewkhao said.

Songwuth was the brother of an unsuccessful election candidate for Puea Thai - the party allied to former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra that won overall in the recent poll - but police believed his death was not political.

Source: Agence France-Presse