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Thais wanted militant badly

Friday January 28, 2005

Thais wanted militant badly

BY FOO YEE PING

BANGKOK: The suspected Muslim separatist arrested by Malaysian police in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 5 had a million bhat (RM98,622) bounty placed on his head by the Thai authorities. 

He was described by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as someone “who has inflicted tremendous pain on the country.” 

Yet so little is known of him, even his real name. 

Chae Kumae Kuteh? Jehku Mae Kuteh? Doromae Kuteh? Or is it Abdul Rahman Ahmad @ Deraman Koteh? 

Information about him is sparse other than reports that he was believed to have lived in Terengganu, holding dual citizenship. 

He was one of those accused of attacking an army camp last year which led to four soldiers being killed, weapons stolen and 20 schools torched in one night. 

He is also alleged to be a senior member of the separatist Mujahedeen Islamic Pattani Party, said to have been set up in the 1990s by militants bent on using harsher tactics to get their way. The authorities had been trying to capture him for years. 

Ironically, rumours of his capture by the Malaysian police surfaced way back in August last year. At that time, the suspect was said to be on his way home from a trip to Indonesia. 

In another development, the Thai Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it was “inappropriate for a person holding a ministerial rank of a neighbouring country to make negative statements directed at a leader of another country in such a manner which is not constructive to their existing close relations.” 

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar was quoted in newspapers yesterday as saying that Thaksin Shinawatra should follow diplomatic channels in requesting the extradition of the suspected rebel. 

Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Surakiart Sathirathai said Thailand was disappointed with Syed Hamid’s reaction “since not only does it run counter to what was actually said by the Prime Minister of Thailand during an interview to the press but also because verification should have first been sought through diplomatic channels.” 

Wisma Putra released a statement quoting Syed Hamid as saying he was surprised his statement which he said was made in the spirit of good neighbourliness and being constructive to the existing close ties between the two countries, was wrongly construed. 

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