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Insurgency

Southern rebel remains unresponsive in hospital following alleged torture

The Thaiger

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Southern rebel remains unresponsive in hospital following alleged torture | The Thaiger

Thai security officials have confirmed that four more people were killed in a late-night attack on July 24 by Muslim insurgents on a military outpost in the southern province of Pattani. Militants struck the remote base throwing grenades and laying down nearly an hour of automatic fire. The attack is considered “payback’ for the alleged torture of Abdulloh Esormusor.

Human Rights Watch say the July 25 attack was a likely retaliation for the treatment of Abdulloh.

The 15 year insurgency in the Malay-Muslim majority so-called Restive South or Deep South has left over 7,000 people dead but attracts little global attention. Successive Thai administrations have failed to negotiate any relief to the conflict despite the litany of violence that even outstrips higher profile conflicts in places like the Gaza Strip.

Rebels continue to fight for autonomy for an area they describe as a “culturally distinct region” free from the Buddhist-majority Thai state which colonised the area over a century ago.

The July 25 attack boiled over after a Muslim rebel suspect was left in a critical condition after spending several hours in an army interrogation unit. He was hospitalised with “brain swelling”. Reports in several regional news outlets claim he was tortured using “suffocation” and plastic bags as the method to extract information.

Four days before the attack a rebel suspect, 34 year old Abdulloh Esormusor, was rendered unconscious after being arrested under martial law and taken to the military camp in Pattani. The head doctor at the notorious Inkayuth detention centre recorded the suspect arrival saying he was “in good health”. But later he noted that the man was later found unconscious after being held in the “interrogation centre”, according to The Star Online.

Rebel groups claim he was tortured and are calling for an international probe. The army has publicly vowed to punish anyone found guilty of abuse.

Inkayuth is the Thai army’s largest detention centre in the south, where insurgency suspects are taken for questioning and held under the emergency laws governing the conflict-scarred region.

Critics, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, claim that the security in the southern provinces gives rise to potential cover-ups and impunity to prosecution. Numerous complaints of torture have been recorded against the army but no personnel have ever been successfully prosecuted over alleged abuses or claims of torture.

“There must be a prompt, effective and independent investigation into allegations that Mr. Esormusor was subjected torture or ill treatment while in custody. The investigation must be carried out by an independent agency, not by the military authorities themselves.” – Amnesty International

Amnesty International noted in a ’Make Him Speak by Tomorrow’: Torture and Other Ill-treatment in Thailand” report in 2016 that Thai law does provide stated legal safeguards against torture, providing detainees the right to appear before a court within 48 hours of their arrest. It also acknowledges detainees rights to have legal counsel present during questioning.

But the current martial law in the three southernmost provinces overrides these provisions providing a legal shield that is alleged to have been breached.

Over the weekend it was reported that Abdulloh remains unresponsive, and his “brain stem is not functioning”, according to a hospital statement.

PHOTO: Sumaiya Minga leaves Muang Pattani police station after filing a complaint about the treatment of her husband Abdulloh Esormusor.

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Insurgency

Deputy PM scoffs at demands from southern insurgency group

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Deputy PM scoffs at demands from southern insurgency group | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

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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ASEAN

Police seeking arrest warrants for planners of August 2 Bangkok bombs

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Police seeking arrest warrants for planners of August 2 Bangkok bombs | The Thaiger

ORIGINAL PHOTO: Reuters

Police now believe that three suspects in the August 2 Bangkok bombings plotted much the attacks in a neighbouring country. Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon reported the latest in the investigations to the media today.

Gen Prawit reported that the three suspects were actively involved and have fled back to their country. Without mentioning the country (presumably Malaysia), Prawit said that police are seeking the assistance of their neighbouring counterparts to arrest and return the suspects to Thailand for questioning.

Police have also reported that the attacks were planned near the Thai-Malaysian border at a meeting of the planners, bomb-makers and attackers. A total of 15 suspects are believed to be involved in the bombings.

Meanwhile, two detained suspects in the bombings are back in Bangkok after being transported from Narathiwat. More about that story HERE. The Metropolitan Police will seek an extension to their lawful detention at the Bangkok South Criminal Court tomorrow.

Both suspects have been charged with organised crime, attempted murder, carrying explosives and illegal possession of explosives.

The two men are accused of planting two bombs on the steps of the Royal Thai Police HQ in the Thursday late afternoon. At the time authorities claimed the bombs were dummy devices. The bags contained a bomb that was set to go off at 8am on August 2 but were defused by bomb disposal officers. The other bombs went off in locations around Bangkok between 7-9am on August 2, during Bangkok’s morning peak hour.

Six bombs and six incendiary devices detonated on August 2 as Bangkok hosted the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting. Police believe the day was chosen to co-incide with the regional meeting to ’embarrass’ the Thai government.

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Bangkok

Thai Police Chief admits difficulties in solving last Friday’s bombings

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Thai Police Chief admits difficulties in solving last Friday’s bombings | The Thaiger

“Suspects had provided some useful information but are still reluctant to disclose the rewards they were promised.”

Thailand’s national police chief says that it has been difficult for investigators to track down the real masterminds behind the recent bombings and arson attacks in Bangkok and neighbouring Nonthaburi province. Police have arrested at least two people and held others in custody for questioning since last Friday morning’s bomb attacks around the city.

But Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda claimed 80-90% of bombing incidents in Thailand are politically motivated.

“The motives for the recent incidents are difficult to determine because the attacks were prepared meticulously.”

Two suspects, 22 year old Lu-ai Sae-ngae and 29 year old Wildon Maha, were arrested in Chumpon province as they were heading south in a passenger van to Narathiwat province from the Chatachuk area in Bangkok early last Friday morning, before the bombs started going off around the city during the Friday morning peak hour.

Pol Gen Chakthip says the pair are among about 25 people thought to be involved in the incidents. Both have been charged with criminal association, possession of explosives and attempted murder. He said the suspects had provided some useful information, but are still reluctant to disclose the rewards they were promised.

On arrest, the two suspects each had five sets of clothing in their backpacks, to be changed in the course of their operation to make them hard to identify. The national police chief also accused the two suspects of involvement in the attack on a marine base in Narathiwat in 2013.

Meanwhile, Pol Lt-Gen Suwat Chaengyodsook, the assistant national police chief, in charge of handling the case, told the media that police believe four groups of people were involved, namely a strategy group for planning, the instigators who handled recruitment and issued the orders, the logistics group which provided help before and after the execution of the plan and the operations group which executed the plan, altogether over 25 people, some of whom are thought to have already fled abroad.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

Thai Police Chief admits difficulties in solving last Friday's bombings | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Explosive devices recovered by EOD

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