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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Bangkok to probe mosque clash
An unidentified Thai soldier reaches out to curious children while on patrol near a train station in Pattani, Thailand, Tuesday, May 4, 2004.
The Thai military are trying to regain the trust of the locals
Thailand has appointed an independent commission to probe last week's mosque shoot-out, amid international concern at its bloody outcome.

The announcement was made as Malaysian senior officials arrived in Bangkok for talks on the violence, which has bruised Thai-Malaysian relations.

Malaysian public opinion is sensitive to the plight of fellow Malay Muslims in southern Thailand.

The region remains tense, and several hundred more troops have been deployed.

The UN and local Muslim leaders have questioned the degree of force used by Thai security forces in quashing the violence.

More than 30 Muslim militants died in the mosque shoot-out in Pattani province - part of a wave of violence last Wednesday in the Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Pattani and Songkhla.

The independent commission, which will be headed by a former judge, Suchinda Yongsoonthorn, is required to "probe into the incident to find the persons or agencies who should take responsibility for possible legal implications," a government statement said.

"Even though this incident was unavoidable," said spokesman Jakrapob Penkhair, "the government wants related facts to be established by people knowledgeable in gathering information, religion, and foreign relations."

THAI VIOLENCE
Yala: At least five police posts attacked
Songkhla: Security base targeted
Pattani: Shoot-out between police and gunmen trapped in mosque

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar are meeting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Wednesday for talks on the border violence - in which more than 100 militants died.

As well as the 30 who died in the mosque shoot-out, another 70 were killed in other clashes in the region, after they carried out a series of co-ordinated raids on police and army posts.

The high death toll prompted the Malaysian Government to publicly urge Bangkok to focus on finding a solution to the unrest in its provinces bordering Malaysia.

On Friday Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his country was willing to offer refuge to Thais fleeing the trouble.

In apparent response, Mr Thaksin said on Saturday that some foreign countries were trying to interfere in Thailand's internal affairs.

The BBC's Jonathan Kent in Kuala Lumpur says the Malaysians' visit is not just aimed at mending fences, but also at impressing on the Thais that the situation in the south could inflame Muslim opinion right across the region.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Fiona Werge
"Hundreds of Thai soldiers are on their way to the south"



SEE ALSO:
Thailand boosts security in south
03 May 04  |  Asia-Pacific
UN demands Thai clashes inquiry
30 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Who was behind the Thai attacks?
30 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Grieving begins in Thailand's south
29 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Malay border echoes to Thai fighting
30 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra
28 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific


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