Writer: POST REPORTERS
Published: 18/06/2009 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: News
The government is taking a cautious line over connections between three Rohingya arrested this week and reports they helped terrorists and the southern insurgency movement.
Abhisit: More inquiries needed
Police were unsure about the precise links and were conducting more inquiries, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.
Mohammad Ali Hussein, Mohammad Mudbahem and Chubri Awae were arrested early this week following a joint operation between the Department of Special Investigation, the armed forces and immigration police.
Police said they were human traffickers with ties to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, al-Qaeda terrorists and insurgents in the far South.
See earlier report: PM: They're just bad guys
Mr Abhisit said the men might have made money from human trafficking, without it reaching the separatist movement in the far South.
He also dismissed speculation that al-Qaeda terrorists had slipped into the country to whip up violence in the region.
The government was working with intelligence agencies overseas to make sure that did not happen, the prime minister said.
Several groups were involved in the southern strife and the government knew who they were, he said.
The intelligence unit in the southern border provinces yesterday warned that more illegal Rohingya migrants from Burma would enter southern Thailand.
A group of about 10 Thai senior officials is believed to be involved in the illicit trafficking and each of them makes about a million baht a month, the unit said.
In Yala's Bannang Sata district yesterday, three women government officials were shot and wounded while having lunch at a store 20m away from the district police station. A C-4 bomb was also found in a nearby rubbish bin, apparently targeted at security officers who arrived to examine the shooting scene.
The bomb failed to explode despite four calls being made to its mobile-phone detonator. Later, eight young men were held for questioning. Police said they found traces of gunpowder on them.
Also in Yala, five schools surrounding Ban Pomeng School in Raman district, where a woman teacher was killed on Tuesday, have suspended classes until next week for safety reasons.