BRN agrees to remove Sadao from ceasefire pact

The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) group has agreed to remove Songkhla's Sadao district from the Ramadan ceasefire agreement.

  • Published: 27/07/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Paradorn: Renews plea for peace

The pledge came after National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut flew to Malaysia on Thursday to meet BRN representative Hassan Taib and asked him to exclude the district from the 40-day deal.

The meeting was also attended by Malaysian facilitator Ahmad Zamzamin bin Hashim, former director of Malaysia's External Intelligence Organisation.

An army source said Lt Gen Paradorn discussed the NSC's opposition to the inclusion of Sadao district in the ceasefire pact and requested the BRN remove it.

"Malaysia will soon come out to announce that there will be an amendment to the [ceasefire] agreement in terms of Sadao district following the request from Thai authorities because this matter has made a lot of Thais feel uncomfortable," the army source said.

When the ceasefire pact was announced on July 12, army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Sadao district residents immediately blasted the inclusion of the district.

They said insurgency-related attacks had never occurred in the district, which borders Malaysia's Kelantan state, and feared that its inclusion on the list of violent hotspots would cast the area in a negative light.

The army source said the BRN had decided to include Sadao district in the ceasefire pact as the separatist group believed the district was once part of the Patani state.

The source, however, said this belief was mistaken, as the state comprised Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and only four Songkhla districts - Chana, Thepha, Saba Yoi and Na Thawi.

Thai authorities were not initially concerned by the inclusion of Sadao in the ceasefire as they viewed the broader deal as positive, the source said.

The source said Lt Gen Paradorn had also asked the BRN not to carry out any more attacks for the rest of Ramadan.

Violence has continued in the South despite the ceasefire. Two teachers were killed in a bomb attack on Wednesday in Narathiwat's Chanae district.

Lt Gen Paradorn told a seminar yesterday that about 20 attacks have been reported since the truce was implemented.

The BRN has confirmed it was responsible for six of the attacks, including the killing of the two teachers, Lt Gen Paradorn told the "Peace Negotiation: Way Out for the Deep South Crisis" seminar at the Royal Thai Navy Auditorium.

The Ramadan ceasefire, due to expire on Aug 18, initially covered Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces and five districts in Songkhla - Na Thawi, Chana, Thepha, Saba Yoi and Sadao.

Meanwhile, in Narathiwat's Rueso district and across Yala's seven districts, authorities yesterday found 25 fake bombs as well as banners and spray-painted messages demanding soldiers leave the deep South.

Two people were also shot and seriously injured in Narathiwat's Si Sakhon district, though the motive for the attack was unclear.

In Pattani's Sai Buri district, fire destroyed 11 motorcycles parked in front of Somdejyupparat Sai Buri Hospital. Police are investigating.

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Writer: Wassana Nanuam
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