Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thailand: southern insurgency ceasefire?

A group calling itself Thailand's United Southern Underground Group* has announced a ceasefire throughout the insurgency ravaged southern provinces of Thailand. The announcement came via satilite television broadcast Wednesday (apparently part of the intention was to notify the insurgents themselves of the ceasefire). Hardly anybody -- not even the Thai army -- had heard of this group before. It's not clear how many insurgents this group represents. The identity and affiliation of the Southern insurgents has been largely unknown.

General Chetta Thanacharo, who was Minister of Defense under Prime Minister Thaksin, claims to have brokered the ceasefire. Thai military officials are reportedly skeptical and think Chetta may be engaged in self-promotion. A Human Rights Watch spokesman said Chetta may have "jumped the gun."

See Bangkok Pundit's comments on this unusual development. Also this AP report.
* Means "Tai Ruam Pak Tai Khong Prathet Thai"
h/t Bangkok Pundit.
Photo: shows group's and their flag leaders from video broadcast on army-run Channel 5 to other TV stations via MCOT.

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