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Thai Military Official Says Libyan-Trained Insurgents Operating in Southern Thailand

13 October 2005

A top Thai general says some militants in the country's restive south have received military training in Libya.

General Pallop Pinmanee, an official with Thailand's Internal Security Operations Command, says a group of militants spent four years in Libyan camps and returned to Thailand to train anti-government fighters. He says the Libyan-trained insurgents are now operating in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

It's not clear how many fighters Thai officials believe were trained in Libya.

Anti-government fighting in Thailand's Muslim-majority southern provinces has killed about 1,000 people since the beginning of 2004. The rest of Thailand is mainly Buddhist.

Thai authorities blame the violence on Islamic separatists, local corruption and organized crime.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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