Core rebel bosses, Pulo to join peace talks

Core insurgent leaders Masae Useng and Sapaeing Basor will send representatives to join the peace talks in Malaysia on Thursday, National Security Council (NSC) chief Paradorn Patanatabut says.

  • Published: 26/03/2013 at 12:20 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Representatives of the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), another rebel group, will also participate in the talks, he said Monday.

Rebel group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), which will also have its people at the meeting, signed a deal with the NSC to kick-start peace negotiations in Kuala Lumpur a month ago.

The talks are aimed at ending the violence in the far South.

Mr Sapaeing and Mr Masae are core leaders of the BRN Coordinate separatist group. Both men are based overseas. A bounty has been set at 10 million baht on Mr Sapaeing, while a 3-million-baht reward has been set for Mr Masae's capture. (Story continues after photo)

A security officer in Pattani's Nong Chik district removes a banner calling for peace, unity and a Pattani state. The banners were hung at several locations in the district ahead of peace talks which begin on Thursday. (Photo by Abdulloh Benjakat)

Lt Gen Paradorn declined to name the government's delegates to the Malaysia talks. "We've decided to keep the names of these 15 people secret for safety reasons," he said.

The government will also ask for cooperation from insurgent group representatives to reduce violence in the far South to increase trust in the peace process, said Lt Gen Paradorn.

Those involved at militant operation level will not join these talks, he said.

No negotiations or talks will be held on any exchanges, as the talks have just started, Lt Gen Paradorn added.

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Council of Southernmost Thailand has asked the government to show sincerity by lifting "special laws" in the Muslim-dominated provinces.

Among legal measures invoked to curb violence is the emergency decree, which authorises security officers to conduct searches and arrest suspects without warrants, as well as the less draconian Internal Security Act.

For the BRN and other separatist groups, the council wants them to end or at least tone down militant operations in the far South.

The council's other requests include a call for all separatist groups to join the talks, for all sides to scale down operations, a government exchange of views on the peace process with opposition politicians and local people and the establishment of a panel to investigate insurgency-related cases.

Meanwhile, a villager, Nukun Panchuai, 33, was shot dead while riding a motorcycle on the Ban Na Ket-Ban Mae Kang road in Pattani's Khok Pho district, police said.

Officers Monday also found banners reading "peace, unity, Pattani state" hung in many areas including Road No.418 linking Pattani-Yala and Road No.42 linking the province and Hat Yai. They believed the banners put up were to spur interest in Thursday's peace talks.

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Writer: Pradit Ruangdit & Muhammad Ayub Pathan

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