Kurdish guerrillas shot dead a state-sponsored militia member in southeast Turkey, the armed forces said on Thursday, escalating tensions in the region after days of protests at the building of new military outposts.

Two fighters from the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) killed “village guard” Mehmet Ugurtay in his van on Wednesday in a primary school courtyard in the southeastern province of Mardin, where he was due to pick up pupils, the army’s general staff said.

Village guards are armed and paid by the state, often acting in collaboration with the military, to help protect rural communities against PKK attacks. […]