Thai authorities have arrested three local officials they allege were involved in trafficking and holding Rohingya Muslims for ransom at a jungle camp where 26 bodies were found last week in the mountains of southern Thailand.

National police chief Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung said Monday that the suspects — two deputy village chiefs and a municipal councilor — were believed to be part of a "transnational crime network" that included people from Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia and had been operating for three or four years.

The arrests came after the grim discovery Friday of 26 buried bodies at an abandoned camp in southern Thailand, long considered a regional trafficking hub for migrants seeking a better life in third countries.

The Rohingya Muslims are a long-persecuted religious minority in neighboring Myanmar.