The head of an inquiry into the killing of 32 militants in a mosque in southern Thailand has accused security forces of using excessive force.
More than 30 people died in the Krue Se mosque stand-off
Suchinda Yongsunthorn said heavily armed personnel stormed the Krue Se mosque, opening fire on militants armed only with knives and a single gun.
The incident happened on 28 April, during an uprising in three southern provinces that left 108 rebels dead.
Mr Suchinda heads a six-person committee investigating the killings.
The resulting 30-page report was due to be delivered to Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra on Wednesday.
Asked by reporters if he believed too much force had been used inside the Krue Se, mosque in Pattani province, Mr Suchinda said: "Yes, I do feel that way."
"Various evidence convinced me, such as the many heavy
weapons... and machine guns used by the military, while the
militants had only machetes and one gun with not many stolen
bullets," he is quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.
The inquiry does not blame any particular individual and clears the military from blame, saying that the region had already been placed under martial law at the time of the uprising.
"The conclusion was neutral, did not point out directly who was
to blame and it's merely a direct report of what happened," Mr Suchinda said.
Thailand's south has endured decades of separatist violence, but after a period of relative peace, trouble flared again at the start of
this year. More than 250 people have been killed since January.
Government officials, teachers, security forces and Buddhist monks have been particularly targeted by suspected Muslim militants.
But the violence on 28 April was unprecedented, with more than 100 people being killed in a single day in Yala, Pattani and Songkhla provinces.
Muslim communities accused the Thai authorities of being heavy-handed in crushing the unrest.
But General Panlop Pinmanee, the military commander who ordered the mosque operation, was unrepentant.
"I had no choice. If I had delayed my decision by two or three
hours there would have been more catastrophe," he told AFP.
Mr Suchinda said it was down to Mr Thaksin whether or not to make the
report public, but he warned that "heavy-handed" tactics by the government
would not solve the problem.
After submitting the report to the prime minister, the committee will produce a second report suggesting how to tackle security problems in the restive south.