Government denies pact stirred fresh unrest
At least six people were injured yesterday in two bomb blasts in Narathiwat, just a day after the government signed a peace talks deal with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).
- Published: 2/03/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The government, however, was quick to dismiss any link between the peace talks agreement and the explosions although some critics suggested the blasts were an attempt to discredit the peace plan.
Five civilians and one soldier were wounded when a motorcycle bomb went off at the entrance of a fresh market on Phuphaphakdee Road of Muang Narathiwat municipality at 5.50am.
Six motorcycles and two pickup trucks including one which was equipped with mobile phone jamming equipment were damaged.
The 5-kilogramme explosive device was planted in the storage compartment of the motorcycle that was parked next to the pickup truck.
Security officials had yet to thoroughly examine and find out what was used to trigger the bomb.
According to witnesses, a teenager parked the motorcycle in front of the market near the pickup truck with the jammer and walked into the market. Five minutes later the bomb exploded.
Six hours later a car bomb exploded outside Jip Heng shop, a retail store opposite Narathiwat police bureau, in Muang district. No one was killed or injured in the explosion.
The blast was caused by 50kg of explosives hidden in a cooking gas cylinder in an Isuzu pickup truck with a Yala licence plate.
Bomb experts and forensic workers found the debris of an alarm clock and a cell phone at the scene. They believed the bomb was triggered by the clock.
The pickup truck was seen parked one hour before the bomb went off. The store was closed yesterday.
The blasts came a day after National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut signed a peace talks agreement with Hassan Taib, identified as the "chief of the BRN liaison office in Malaysia" in Kuala Lumpur.
"Today's violence happens with no special implications [to the agreement]. There may be other factors at play," he said.
While they noted that the peace talks pact could not end the violence overnight, they expressed confidence it would improve the situation.
"The situation will get better. The peace talks process will allow for exchanges of opinions in solving the problem," he said.
"I believe other groups will jump on the bandwagon."
It is thought six to eight insurgent groups are involved in the southern violence, but the BRN is said to be one of the most active.
However, Lt Gen Paradorn said it was too early to tell how long the peace process would take.
Army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday said the peace talks agreement will not affect enforcement of laws against people responsible for violence.
"It is not that we will scale down security operations. The laws will be strictly enforced as they have always been," Gen Prayuth said.
He admitted that violence would continue even after the peace talks deal, noting that the 4th Army Region was ordered to intensify security in every area on Feb 28.
Gen Prayuth also said there was no commitment on the government's part. It was free to reject proposals or abandon the talks process if it felt it would compromise its position.
He said the agreement would bring the insurgents into the open and help ensure that militant violence would not be elevated to the international level.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday dismissed criticism that by signing the agreement the government was recognising insurgent groups.
"It is a show of intent. It is not yet a negotiation and it has no legal binding," she said.
Ms Yingluck said she could not say if the efforts will bear fruit. The NSC was responsible for implementing the peace talks process.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung echoed Ms Yingluck's stand that the agreement did not change the insurgents' status.
He insisted that an autonomous state or a special administrative zone was never part of the government plan.
The peace talks agreement has been welcomed by various groups.
Former House speaker Wan Muhammad Nor Matha said he understood the concerns but efforts to broker a political solution deserved to be given a chance.
Abdulrorsah Wanali, an academic, suggested yesterday that civic groups be brought to the negotiating table.
Srisompop Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch, echoed his call to involve civic groups and other insurgent groups in the process.
A security source, meanwhile, said yesterday that three BRN members had also joined the Feb 28 agreement signing in Kuala Lumpur.
They were identified as Ahwang Abdulloh, 63, Abdulloh Masama, and Abdulrohman Jehteh, 60.
Two other core members, Sapae-ing Basor and Masae Useng, did not turn up because they have criminal records, the source said.
About the author
- Writer: Post Reporters
- Position: Reporters