A group that claims to lead the Muslim insurgency in Thailand's restive south has agreed to a ceasefire.

Three men representing the little-known United Southern Underground announced the truce Thursday in a video statement broadcast on Thailand's military-run television station.

The ceasefire was negotiated by former Defense Minister Chetta Thanacharo, who announced the agreement hours before the militants.  

Experts have questioned the claim.  Human Rights Watch says a group calling itself BRN Coordinate is leading the insurgency.

The militants said the ceasefire is effective from Monday of this week.  There have been at least two bomb attacks in the south since then.

Three southern Thai provinces - Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani - have been plagued by a violent Muslim insurgency that has left more than 3,000 people dead since it broke out in 2004.

The provinces were once part of an independent Muslim sultanate annexed by Thailand in the early 1900s.




Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.