BANGKOK       -       Thailand will delay the deportation of the wife and children of the top commander of the Arakan Army insurgent group that is fighting Myanmar’s army while authorities carry out a full investigation, Thai officials said on Sunday.

The arrests prompted a barrage of pressure on Thailand from rights groups concerned that the family could be forced back to Myanmar in what has been an increasing pattern by Southeast Asian states to send home each other’s dissidents.

“Right now we are in the investigation phase,” Thai police deputy spokesman KrisanaPattanacharoen told Reuters.

“Whether that will lead to deportation or not, there are processes in determining if they are wanted by another country and why, but we are not at that stage yet,” he said.

HninZarPhyu and Saw Pyae Shun, 11, and Myat Lin Zan, aged 11 months, had been sent to an immigration detention center in Bangkok, he said.

TunMyatNaing is the top commander of the Arakan Army that is fighting for greater autonomy for Rakhine state, which caught global attention after more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a crackdown by Myanmar’s military in 2017.