Thai Government’s Monitoring Exiled Rebels in Sweden

The Thai Foreign Ministry has been closely monitoring the movements of Thais allegedly involved in Thailand’s southern unrest in Europe, particularly in Sweden, ministry spokesman Tharit Chalungvat was quoted by local media as saying on 23 May 2007.
The spokesman said that Thai embassies in Europe have consistently reported about the movements of the suspected insurgents to Thai security agencies, according to a report by Thai news network The Nation.
At the cabinet meeting on 22 May 2007, Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, chairman of Thailand’s Council for National Security, instructed the Foreign Ministry to solicit information about Thai nationals who have resettled in Sweden and other European countries, following reports linking some resettlers to violence in Thailand’s deep south.
Many of them used to live in Thailand’s neighbor Malaysia but later were expelled from the country for “misbehaving”, Sonthi said.
“The groups we have followed and reported back to Bangkok include both the older generation of separatists such as members of the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO) and the new generation,” Tharit told reporters.
Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram would meet his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt to discuss the matter on the sideline of the Asia Europe Meeting in Hamburg, Germany next week, he said.
Although Stockholm would likely provide cooperation to monitor the movements of Thai rebels, Tharit noted that “such cooperation would be under legal restriction to protect their (the alleged insurgents’) freedom of movement in accordance with Swedish laws.”
The ministry declined to give further details about the suspected insurgents in exile in term of number, names, and known activities in Europe.
Last year, the Thai government rejected an offer from Sweden to mediate peace deal in the south, the report said.
Insurgent violence has troubled the southernmost provinces of Thailand, including Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala for more than three years, with shootings, arsons and bombing attacks reported almost on daily basis, and has left over 2,100 people dead in the region.

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