Thai military junta fails to bring peace and stability to conflict-torn Thai South

The wife of a local contractor and her son were shot dead in full view of customers at a teahouse in Thung Yang Daeng district on Thursday morning.

They were slain by gunmen who arrived on motorcycles at the roadside shop in Ban Phithaen around 8.30am, said Pol Lt Col Naris Kajae, deputy chief at Thung Yang Daeng police station.

Arom Chomphet, 46, of Yala, and her son Kawin Chawitsakun, 27, were shot by two of four men who arrived on two motorcycles. The pillion riders opened fire in front of local residents who were drinking tea and eating there.

Arom died on the spot. Her son was badly wounded and later pronounced dead by a hospital.

Police found spent 9mm bullet cartridges scattered on the road. They were examining recordings from surveillance cameras in the area and along the escape route.

It was not known if the murders were motivated by a personal conflict or the on-going unrest.

The slain woman and her husband Prasong Chomphet, a contractor, sell marble from their business in Yala province.

The shooting occurred shortly after the woman and her son sent workers to do a job at a nearby mosque.

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Woman, son slain in Pattani

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Did Thai military torture Patani suspects for confession?

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A Thai court on Tuesday sentenced nine Muslim men from the Deep South to four to six years in jail after convicting them of conspiring two years ago to launch bomb attacks in Bangkok and a nearby province, while five others walked free.

A defense attorney challenged the decision, saying his clients were tortured to confess and will appeal within 30 days.

Mubarina Kana was the only defendant to be found with traces of explosives, according to the two-judge panel. He was handed a six-year jail term.

“Based on forensic probe, the trace of PETN, an explosive material that is not common, was found on his left and right hand,” one of the judges said during the sentencing, referring to Mubarina. “It is believed that he had bombs.”

The judge, who was not identified by the court, said eight other defendants conspired to form a crime syndicate and were each sentenced to four years in jail. Five others were found not guilty.

On Oct. 10, 2016, Thai security forces raided several residences in Bangkok and Samut Prakan, a province south of the capital, arresting dozens of Muslim men from the Deep South, mostly students at Ramkhamhaeng University, over allegations they planned car-bomb attacks.

Torture testimony

Defense lawyer Kijja Ali-isho who represented the 14 defendants said his clients testified they were tortured to confess while in military prisons in Bangkok and in Pattani.

“They were hit in the ears, kept in cold temperature, anything that would not cause external bruises,” he told BenarNews after the verdict.

Continue reading: BenarNews

One Dead, Four Wounded in Roadside Ambush in Conflict-Torn Thai South

Suspected insurgents killed one person and wounded four others in a roadside ambush in southern Thailand, a region where a Muslim separatist rebellion has been active for more than a decade, police said Thursday.

Also on Thursday, a court convicted two men of involvement in the May 2017 car bombing of a busy shopping center in Pattani province in which 61 people were hurt when the building was partly blown apart.

The men, charged with attempted premeditated murder and use of bombs, were given the death penalty, but the penalty was commuted to life in prison because they confessed.

Police Capt. Sanguansak Kaewmoon said an unknown number of gunmen used assault rifles to open fire Wednesday on a pickup truck carrying seven people returning from a hunting trip in Yala province. The ambush left the truck riddled with bullet holes.

Police suspect the assault was carried out by Muslim separatists who have been conducting a low-level but deadly insurgency in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat. Their campaign has led to the deaths of almost 7,000 people since the rebellion flared in 2004.

Government efforts to curb the violence have had minimal results.

There have been on-again, off-again talks between officials and a variety of Muslim insurgent groups, but they have failed to make headway, and it remains unclear if the groups participating even have control over the people carrying out the attacks.

Source Khaosod English: 1 Dead, 4 Wounded in Roadside Ambush in Pattani

Thai Junta Cronyism: Muslim Political Bloc’s New Party Open to Backing Prayuth

A new party led by a Muslim politician said it is open to supporting the return of junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha after elections slated for next year.

The Prachachart Party, led by a 74-year-old founder of a southern bloc of Muslim politicians, broke from the Pheu Thai Party earlier this year and hinted they may launch a party. Today they followed through by announcing they will register it with the Election Commission on Wednesday.

Spokesman Najmuddin Umar said the party, which held a meeting Sept. 1, seeks solutions to the separatist unrest that has plagued the Deep South for going on 15 years. It plans to field candidates all across the country.

Continue reading Khaosod English: Muslim Political Bloc’s New Party Open to Backing Prayuth

 

Thai South Peace Talks To Restart When Authorities Get Their Act Together

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Militarized South Thai. Art by AK Rockefeller

Mara Patani, which consists of several militant groups, would convene an internal meeting soon to deliberate on the latest development,” he said.

Abdul Rahim, who was known as a no-nonsense police officer, was pivotal in the laying down of arms by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and signing of the Hatyai Peace Agreement in 1989 with the Malaysian government, when he was the Special Branch (SB) director.

Wanlop was also asked about Aksara’s future as the government’s lead negotiator to the peace talks, over persistent media speculation about his possible ouster.

He squashed the speculation saying that the former Army Chief of Staff will carry on with his job and head Bangkok’s peace negotiating panel in the Malaysian facilitated peace talks.

“Now, head of Thai peace dialogue is still Gen Aksara, and in the future, it will still be the same person,” said Wanlop.

Matters regarding southern Thai peace talks are under the direct purview of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and the country’s NSC.

Since 2004, more than 7,000 people have died as a result of armed conflict in southern Thailand’s four provinces bordering northern Malaysia, said non-government organisation, the Deep South Watch which constantly monitors the conflict.

 

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Two volunteers killed in Narathiwat ambush

Two defence volunteers have been killed in an ambush in Sungai Padi district in this southern province.

District police were reported of the attack on Ban Toh Deng Rd in tambon Toh Deng at 4.30pm on Tuesday.

When a joint team of police, soldiers and administrative officials reached the scene, they found two bodies and a fire-damaged motorcycle with no licence plates on the ground.

After a bomb disposal team cleared the scene, they found the bodies next to the motorcycle belonged to Muhammad Hafazi, who was hit in the head, and Jehyunai Jehbueraheng, who sustained multiple wounds to the torso. They were sent to Sungai Padi Hospital for autopsies.

Almost 10 M16 shells found at the scene were taken in evidence.

An initial investigation found the two volunteers left the operation centre of Tambon Toh Deng Protection Unit to provide security services at Ban Phlong School in the same tambon.

When the school closed, they rode back. About 1km to the unit, at least two armed perpetrators who hid in dense forests along the road fired M16 and killed the pair. They then torched the motorcycle and took two AK-47 rifles, a 9mm pistol and two bullet vests from the victims.

Source – Bangkok Post: Two volunteers killed in Narathiwat ambush

Insurgents Use Landmines in Conflict-Torn ThaiSouth

Separatist insurgents have used landmines to maim rubber plantation workers and seriously disrupt the daily life of people in Thailand’s southern border provinces, Human Rights Watch said today. Ethnic Malay Muslim insurgents affiliated with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) separatist movement should immediately cease using antipersonnel landmines and end attacks on civilians.

On July 2, 2018, Suthin Haewkhuntod, an ethnic Thai Buddhist latex tapper in Yala province’s Krong Penang district, lost his foot after he stepped on a landmine reportedly laid by insurgents on the rubber plantation where he worked. Two other ethnic Thai Buddhist latex tappers, Wipawan Plodkaenthong and Chutipon Namwong, were seriously wounded by landmines, in Yala’s Yaha district on June 28 and in Muang district on July 2.

“Laying landmines on rubber plantations and in paths used by villagers is cruel beyond words,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Insurgent groups should stop using these unlawful weapons and clear the landmines they have already laid.”

The separatist groups should observe the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which Thailand ratified in 1998. Antipersonnel mines are prohibited because they cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants, and because they kill and maim people long after they are laid.

Continue reading: HRW