Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Military chiefs join forces


Published: 8/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

CHIANG RAI : Thai and Malaysian military commanders have held a high-level meeting on increasing cooperation to tighten up security along the common border.

Supreme Commander Songkitti Chakkabhat and Malaysian defence forces chief Tan Sri Dato Seri Haji Abdul Aziz bin Haji Zainal agreed to closer intelligence-sharing to beef up border security.

They also agreed to collaborate on natural disaster management.

Gen bin Haji Zainal said he supported doing away with the dual Thai-Malaysian nationality held by some people living along the border. Security forces say the dual nationality makes it harder for them to track insurgent suspects active in the deep South.

A security officer who asked not to be named said the Bersatu separatist group in Malaysia has sent young militants to stage attacks in Thailand's southernmost provinces.

They cross the border between Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok and Waeng districts, and Kelantan state in Malaysia. Insurgents also slipped into the country through ports where security was lax, he said.

A group of 89 Thai Muslims, who sought refuge in Malaysia four years ago, were sent back to a border checkpoint in Narathiwat's Waeng district, former parliamentary candidate for Narathiwat, Makata Kila, said yesterday.

They were among 131 people from villages in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok, Sungai Padi and Tak Bai districts who fled to Kelantan in 2005, saying they had been wrongfully persecuted in a state crackdown on insurgents.

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