The National Security Council (NSC) and the Pheu Thai Party have dismissed reports that ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was scheduled to meet Hassan Taib, liaison office chief of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), in Malaysia Saturday.
DEAD END: Police officers inspect the site of an attack in which a Muslim truck driver was shot dead Saturday by suspected insurgents in the Rueso district of Narathiwat. (AFP photo)
NSC secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut said there had been no confirmation of the report from state agencies working on issues in the South.
Thaksin's legal adviser Noppadon Pattama also dismissed the report as a baseless rumour.
On Friday, an unnamed military source said Thaksin would meet Mr Hassan in Terengganu.
The former leader planned to ask Mr Hassan to be more flexible about the BRN's five demands outlined in a video posted on YouTube last Sunday, so the peace talks between the NSC and BRN could make progress, the source said.
The source also claimed that an alleged meeting between Thaksin and Mr Hassan in Dubai earlier this year might have been the catalyst for the peace talks, which began in February.
Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat said he didn't know anything about the alleged meeting.
ACM Sukumpol said Thaksin has nothing to do with the matter and that the authority for resolving the southern unrest rests solely with the government.
Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard Saturday said Thaksin had expressed his concerns about the violence in the deep South during a party meeting held via Skype.
"He told us that Malaysia is willing to help Thailand to put an end to the southern violence," Mr Anusorn said.
But Democrat Party deputy leader Thaworn Senneam said Saturday that Thaksin would exacerbate the problem in the South if he were allowed to play a role in the peace talks.
He accused Thaksin, who is widely seen as the de factor leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, of wielding influence over the government.
Thaksin's role in the negotiations could damage the country, Mr Thaworn said, adding that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should warn her brother not to meddle in the issue.
Meanwhile, two people were killed Saturday in separate drive-by shootings in Pattani and Narathiwat.
The first victim was identified as Wayeh Dorloh, 50, a resident of Moo 4, tambon Kado of Mayo district. He was shot dead as he rode his motorcycle in Moo 3, tambon Trang of Pattani's Mayo district.
According to witnesses, Wayeh was on his way to a tea shop when a man riding pillion on another motorcycle shot him with a handgun.
The victim worked as a reporter on a local newspaper and was also a police informant. Police said they are investigating the killing.
In Narathiwat, Abdulloh Pataebuenae, 59, was shot as he drove his rice lorry along the Rueso-Jakua road at Moo 3, tambon Sawor of Rueso district.
Witnesses told police that Abdulloh was shot by a man armed with an M16 assault rifle who was riding pillion on a motorcycle.
After being shot, the lorry driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.
Abdulloh exited the vehicle and tried to escape into the forest, but the gunman followed him and shot him dead.
The assailants then fled, the witnesses said.
Police found nine spent M16 rifle cartridges on the roadside.
They said they believed the killer and his associate were separatist militants.
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