Qaeda aiding Thai rebels, says Thaksin

Agence France Presse

Bangkok, May 21:

Muslim separatist militants in Thailand’s southern provinces are using Al-Qaeda military training discs, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today. “On May 19, the authorities searched Jihad Witaya or Ponoh Jihad (Islamic school) and found ammunition, evidence of military training, secret documents concerning an independent Pattani state, and Al-Qaeda training CDs which they have adopted for their struggle,” Thaksin said during his weekly radio address, without elaborating about the discs’ origin. The education authorities have been ordered to shut down the school, whose owner remains on the run, and to find new schools for its former students, Thaksin said. A combined police and military force raided the school in Yaring district of Pattani province on Thursday and seizing the evidence including incrimnating documents and the training CDs. Thaksin said that the separatists’ struggle was the main source of violence in the south, which has claimed more than 670 lives since January 2004.