Muslim rebel leader welcomes Thailand's coup

September 21, 2006 08:30

An exiled Muslim rebel leader on Thursday welcomed Thailand's military overthrow of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, saying the coup could help resolve a bloody Islamic insurgency in the country's south. The takeover Tuesday by army commander Gen. Son Boonyaratkalin, a Muslim in a predominantly Buddhist country who accused Thaksin's government of corruption, has been endorsed by Thailand's revered king and many Thais eager for an end to political turmoil. Thaksin, who used an iron-fisted policy in trying to suppress the insurgency, was widely detested in southern Thailand. "It is the right thing that the military has taken power to replace the Thaksin Shinawatra government," said Lukman B. Lima, an exiled leader in one of several groups fighting the central government for a separate Muslim state.

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