Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-Cha sets 10 day deadline to find migrant Rohingya camps

Bangkok: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given a 10-day deadline to authorities to find possible Rohingya detention camps and graves linked to trafficked migrants.

The move came after the discovery of dozens of graves and bodies, believed to be Rohingya people from Bangladesh and Myanmar at abandoned jungle camps in Padang Besar, Sadao district of Songkhla and Phangnga in southern Thailand. Deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that Gen Prayut also has ordered the authorities to eliminate any other illegal migrant detention camps in Songkhla within 10 days.

Authorities concerned would face punishment if illegal human-trafficking detention places and activities are still found after that time frame. “Local authorities are required to report to the government via the Provincial Adminisration Department chief if they find any state official involved and cannot deal with the problem,” said Sansern. Meanwhile, the army has transferred a regiment commander suspected to have links to Rohinga trafficking out of Songkhla province and vowed to severely punish any soldiers found involved in the wrong doing.

Deputy national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said police were also investigating whether army officers were among the suspects and may seek an arrest warrant, the Bangkok Post reported. The daily quoting unnamed sources said police was searching for two soldiers who had abducted a trafficker of Rohingya migrants and held him for a ransom. Chakthip said he would discuss the Rohingya issue with senior Malaysian police at a Thai-Malaysian police meeting in Phuket province next week.

Malaysian police were working with their Thai counterparts, and similar cooperation was being sought from police in Myanmar, the country of origin of the Rohingya migrants. The search for Rohingya bodies continued in Padang Besar in Songkhla’s Sadao district. Six more bodies were exhumed from an abandoned Muslim graveyard not far from the illegal migrant detention camp on Khao Kaew where the 26 bodies thought to be of Rohingya migrants were found.

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