Nearly 700 Communist insurgents, Moslem separatists and bandits surrendered to the Thai authorities in a colourful ceremony near the town of Yala in the southern province of Pattani, on November 2.
SV Military band leads defectors into stadium at Yala, Pattani province
CU Defectors marching behind flag
CU Supreme commander of Thai armed forces, General Arthit Kamlang-Ek taking salute
SV & CU Defectors with rifles (2 shots)
GV Thai dancers (2 shots)
GV & SV Elephants parading into stadium (2 shots)
SV Defector handing flag over to General Arthit, receiving portrait of king of Thailand
SV Defectors handing rifles over to military and receiving certificates (2 shots)
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Background: Nearly 700 Communist insurgents, Moslem separatists and bandits surrendered to the Thai authorities in a colourful ceremony near the town of Yala in the southern province of Pattani, on November 2. The supreme commander of the Thai armed forces General Arthit Kamlang-Ek, flew from Thailand's capital, Bangkok, to preside at the handover. It was the biggest ever mass surrender in the area and the occasion was marked by military displays and performances by dancers and elephants. The defectors marched into a stadium behind their factional flags which they gave over to General Arthit. Members of the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (PULO) surrendered weapons signifying the end of their struggle to make Pattani province self governing. The general distributed portraits of the king of Thailand in return. In his speech to the defectors, Arthit urged them to start their new lives on a correct course. Thailand's government offers an amnesty to all insurgents who surrender voluntarily and grants land to their families to help them rebuild their lives. According to the Thai army deputy chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Mana Rattanprasert, there are still some 3,000 Communist guerrillas in the country. Recent pacification programmes have decimated the Communist Party's strength in Thailand, and the Thai and Malaysian governments have set up joint operations to reduce the number of insurgent along their borders. About 50 of the people who surrendered were members of the Malaysian Communist Party, though only five were Malay nationals.