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    Thailand Tells Aircraft to Leave as US Tries to Reach Rohingya Migrants

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    The Royal Thai Armed Forces reportedly have asked US aircraft and soldiers to leave Phuket, rejecting an American request to use the island as a base for an operation to provide assistance to Rohingya migrants.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Royal Thai Armed Forces have asked US aircraft and soldiers to leave Phuket after the "Guardian Sea" exercise, rejecting an American request to use the island as a base for an operation to provide assistance to Rohingya migrants, The Bangkok Post daily reports.

    The United States wanted to keep its maritime surveillance aircraft in Phuket after the five-day drills ended on Wednesday, the newspaper cited a military source as saying on Saturday.

    Despite the fact that Americans have repeatedly asked Thailand to grant its request, the Royal Thai Air Force as well as the country's armed forces said US soldiers and aircraft had to leave Thailand by Friday, the source said.

    Phuket could serve as a maritime patrol base for Americans to deliver humanitarian aid to Rohingya, according to the source, but Thai authorities have been irritated over US pressure to resolve local human trafficking problems and have decided to distance the United States from the Rohingya matter.

    Hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladesh boatpeople have been taken to secret camps in southern Thailand without detection. According to the Bangkok Post, Thai police are currently searching for 77 human trafficking suspects.


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