Senior Thai military officer wanted for human trafficking (dpa German Press Agency)

Bangkok (dpa) – Thai courts have issued an arrest warrant for a senior Thai military officer for human trafficking, officials said Tuesday.

The office the national police chief confirmed that a court had issued an arrest warrant for Lieutenant General Manus Kongpang.

It is the first time a senior military officer has been implicated in the trafficking of Muslim Rohingya migrants from Myanmar. Previous arrests have targeted local police and village officials.

The Rohingya are at the centre of an international humanitarian crisis. Earlier this month, Thai authorities found a mass grave containing the remains of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

The ensuing outcry led the government to crack down on human trafficking networks, stranding thousands of migrants with little food or water off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Rohingya say they suffer discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, which does not recognize them as one of the country’s official ethnic groups, and considers them illegal Bengali immigrants.

Rights group accuse Thai officials of aiding the smuggling of the Rohingya through camps in Thailand to their destinations in Indonesia and Malaysia.