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US Wants Answers on Mass Grave in Thai Jungle

Alleged human traffickers arrested after 26 bodies found
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2015 12:07 AM CDT
US Wants Answers on Mass Grave in Thai Jungle
Thailand's national police chief Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung, second from left, holds a pistol seized from one of three suspects believed to be involved in the human trafficking network.   (AP Photo/Thanyarat Doksone)

(Newser) – The bodies of 26 suspected victims of human trafficking were pulled from a mass grave deep in the Thai jungle over the weekend, and the US wants to see Thailand's government carry out a proper investigation. A State Department spokesperson says the US has been in touch with Thai authorities and has called for a "transparent, credible, and expeditious inquiry into this case," reports the Guardian, which notes that the US already ranks Thailand at its lowest level—alongside Syria and North Korea—for efforts to deal with human trafficking. Four suspects were arrested after the discovery of the mass grave, which is believed to hold Rohingya migrants from Bangladesh and Burma, reports the BBC.

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Three survivors, two of them children, were found at the jungle camp, and police say the witnesses have told them violence took place in the camp and there may be other mass graves—and camps—in the area, Reuters reports. Today police found a recently abandoned camp, which they say "means the traffickers are still on the run and taking people with them," the AP reports. Rights groups have long accused Thai officials of complicity in human trafficking, and a 2013 investigation found that authorities routinely handed refugees over to traffickers who kept them in "tropical gulags" until their families paid ransoms or they were sold as labor. (Read more Thailand stories.)

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