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Deputy PM scoffs at demands from southern insurgency group

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Deputy PM scoffs at demands from southern insurgency group | The Thaiger
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Southern peace talks continue to go nowhere as demands from either side prevent meaningful discourse in the two decade-long border scuffle.

In the latest salvo, the Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon has scoffed at a demand by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, the most prominent of the southern insurgency groups, to release suspects in security cases before peace negotiations can recommence.

“How could they possibly suggest something like that?”

The insurgency in the Malay-speaking region of predominantly Buddhist Thailand has killed some 7,000 people over the past 15 years and weekly attacks are still a feature of southern provincial life.

The BRN group officials told Reuters that they met a Thai delegation at “a location in Southeast Asia” on Friday and demanded the release of all people detained over suspected links to the insurgency and a transparent investigation into abuses by Thai security forces.

70 year old Pak Fakir, a senior BRN member spoke to Reuters in somewhat opaque metaphors.

“If the official peace talks are a feast then these secret meetings are like bringing the cow into the kitchen, but the cow is not even slaughtered yet. The Thai state is like an oiled, slippery eel.”

The Thai delegation attending the weekend meeting allegedly included a team headed by the government’s designated chief negotiator General Udomchai Thamasarorat although the General has declined to comment on whether a meeting ever took place.

An unarmed military source says the efforts to stem the insurgency in the far South had been complicated by the reported interference by elements from a foreign state that allegedly provided training to insurgent operatives active in the southern border provinces.

The source also claimed another insurgency group, Patani United Liberation Organisation, was attempting to organise weapons training sessions for its younger members.

Past contacts with BRN never led to official high-level talks and the group has maintained a guerrilla war demanding independence for the Thai provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat which were part of an independent Malay sultanate before the kingdom of Siam annexed them in 1909.

Pak Fakir stated that the groups will never attack northward of the three southern provinces as they don’t wish to be perceived as ‘terrorists’.

“The root cause of our problem is colonisation and this has never been touched upon in past talks.”

SOURCES: Reuters | Bangkok Post

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Insurgency

Pattani villager shot and killed while walking home

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pattani villager shot and killed while walking home | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A 26 year old villager was shot and killed while walking along a street to his home in Pattani’s Sai Buri district, an area plagued with violence related to the religious separatist insurgency in Thailand’s “deep south.” Police say the man’s body was found lying on the road, but did not give any additional details about the case.

The Thai Cabinet recently extended the State of Emergency order in Pattani along Yala and Narathiwat, provinces that both border Malaysia, for another 3 months. Not to be confused with the Emergency Decree imposed by the prime minister to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the order in the South allows officials to track down and arrest insurgents, according to government deputy spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Insurgency

Southern insurgency State of Emergency order extended another 3 months

Caitlin Ashworth

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Southern insurgency State of Emergency order extended another 3 months | The Thaiger
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With ongoing violence related to the religious separatist insurgency in the South, the State of Emergency in the Southern provinces Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani has been extended by the Cabinet for another 3 months, from December 20 to March 19.

While the ethnic and religious conflict dates back to 1948, the 3 provinces bordering Malaysia have been plagued with violence since the early 2000s with drug cartels, oil smuggling networks and even pirate raids.

In recent months, a number of rangers, police and locals in the South have been killed or injured from ambush shootings and roadside bombs.

The order, not to be confused with the nationwide Emergency Decree imposed by the prime minister to combat Covid-19, allows officials to track down and arrest insurgents, according to government deputy spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek.

Only a few districts are excluded from the emergency order: Srisakhon, Su-Ngai Kolok and Sukirin in Narathiwat as well as Maikaen and Maelan in Pattani and Betong in Yala.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Insurgency

Narathiwat villager shot and killed, suspected insurgent camp found nearby

Caitlin Ashworth

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Narathiwat villager shot and killed, suspected insurgent camp found nearby | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

After a villager was shot and killed while he was hunting wild pigs, a military and police task force searched the area in the Southern province Narathiwat’s Si Sakhon district and found a deserted camp on Bilo mountain that they suspect was used by insurgents.

55 year old Sophon Thasuk went up to the mountain to go hunting with a group of friends. They separated, but after a series of gunshots were heard, the friends gathered at their agreed meeting spot. When Sophon didn’t return, the men reported the incident to Ranger Task Force 49.

After 3 hours of searching, rangers found Sophon’s body. He had multiple gunshot wounds. Rangers suspect the villager was killed by insurgents.

A couple days later, a search was led by a combined police and military unit. Officers found an empty campsite with 13 tents. They also found 3 spent AK47 rifle cartridges and a pipe bomb, a type of improvised explosive device known as an IED, along with several survival kits.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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