Thursday March 15, 08:35 PM
By Jalil Hamid
PENANG, Malaysia (Reuters) - A Muslim rebel leader accused the Thai government on Thursday of sabotaging peace moves in the restive south of the country, stoking popular anger and fuelling more violence.
Abu Najhan, a leader of the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (PULO), said Thailand had misrepresented the position of Muslim rebel groups after they had held a series of recent peace talks in neighbouring Malaysia.
The peace drive, brokered by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and backed by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, called for an amnesty in exchange for ceasefire.
"All of us signed the peace proposals but the Thai authorities are telling the people that we have surrendered. This has angered southern Muslims," Najhan told Reuters in a telephone interview, speaking from a secret hideout.
"The Muslims are upset with us. We have been sabotaged."
But a Thai general involved in the talks said the dialogue had been suspended after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a coup last September.
"The unofficial peace plan, which former Prime Minister Mahathir was kindly helping, has come to a halt after the new government preferred to work with Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi," General Vaipot Srinual told Reuters.
Fire Storm ...
16 มี.ค. 50 03:02:51