World News

Two Thai soldiers face rare murder charges in restive south

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Two soldiers in Thailand’s south have been charged with the murder of civilians, a military spokesman said on Wednesday, in a rare rebuke in the insurgency-torn region where rights groups have long demanded greater transparency.

The two turned themselves in on Dec. 20 and are now out on bail, Internal Security Operations Command spokesman Pramote Prom-in said. He gave no details about the victims.

“There will be an investigation and we will follow the legal procedures,” he said.

The charges come months after a nationwide furore over the death in a separate case of Abdulloh Esormusor, a suspected insurgent who fell into a coma after interrogation at an army camp. The Thai military rejected allegations of torture and urged the public to wait for the result of an official inquiry.

A decade-old separatist insurgency in predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s largely ethnic Malay-Muslim southern provinces has killed nearly 7,000 people since 2004, says Deep South Watch, a group that monitors the violence.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Edmund Klamann