Thai military denies torturing and killing Deep South rebel

The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) said peace talks with the Thai government will be harmed if they are responsible for the torture and murder of a Deep South rebel whose body was found in the Golok river, on the border of Thailand and Malaysia, last month.

The tortured body of 42 year old Zahri Bin Abdullah – also known as Yahri Dueloh – was found floating in the river on September 29. There were signs he was electrocuted and strangled, said the BRN.

The BRN’s chief peace negotiator Anas Abdulrahman, also known as Hipni Mareh, said…

“His eyebrows were missing. Also missing was one of his ears… The clothing was different from the time he was abducted. The watch on the body was not Zahri’s. The identification card found on him also belonged to someone else.”

Zahri was the leader of the insurgent group’s youth wing in Narathiwat province in southern Thailand. According to a Thai official, Zahri was held by the Thai military for interrogation in 2015. The insurgent was wanted for three alleged crimes, including an arson attack and the murder of two Thai policemen in 2017 and 2018.

Another source said Zahri recently returned to Malaysia after being briefly detained by the Thai military for questioning about insurgent attacks in Sungai Padi, Narathiwat province, in August and September.

Then, Zahri was abducted by a group of men in three cars from a small town in Rantayu Panjang in the Kelantan state of Malaysia on September 27, near the Thai border, alleges the BRN. His body was found two days later. His identity was confirmed by a DNA test.

However, “Thai officials certainly did not abduct and kill Zahri,” said an anonymous representative of the Thai military. The source suspects the murder was undertaken by ‘peace spoilers’…

“It could have been done by ‘peace spoilers’ who did not want the negotiation to succeed.”

Malaysia regularly hosts ‘peace talks’ between the BRN and Thai government. The BRN say they are committed to pursuing peace with the Thai side and want “a lasting political settlement, one which is dignified and leads to sustainable and genuine peace.”

However, the BRN said that Zahri’s murder has eroded their trust. On Wednesday, the BRN said the peace process will be thwarted if they find out the Thai military killed Zahri…

“BRN strongly condemns the extra-judicial killing of people suspected of affiliation of the BRN. Such acts are direct violations of the Geneva Conventions.”

The BRN is one of the most long-standing and active groups in the South Thailand Insurgency. The conflict has a long and complicated history.

South Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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