BRN demands release of all prisoners

Insurgent representatives demanded Thai authorities release all prisoners convicted in southern violence cases and scrap arrest warrants issued for suspected militants during the first round of formal peace talks in Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

  • Published: 29/03/2013 at 12:01 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

As the talks progressed at an unidentified police camp in the Malaysian capital, three military rangers were killed in a bomb blast in Narathiwat.

Speaking after 12 hours of talks, National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut said Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) liaison office chief Hassan Taib had submitted a general demand for an amnesty for southern insurgents which encompassed four points.

National Security Council secretary-general Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut speaks with reporters after Thursday's first session with BRN officials. (Reuters photo)

These were to withdraw arrest warrants against suspected insurgents; to release prisoners convicted in southern violence cases; to clear pending cases against suspected insurgents; and revoke a rebel suspects blacklist.

Lt Gen Paradorn said he rejected the demand to release prisoners, while the other points would be discussed with the Justice Ministry and other relevant agencies.

The NSC chief said he called on the insurgents to refrain from attacking civilian targets. In response Mr Taib pledged to try and convince other separatist groups to curb violence.

However, Mr Taib admitted it would be difficult to persuade insurgent groups opposing the peace talks to scale down their attacks, said Lt Gen Paradorn, who led the nine-member government delegation at the talks.

The separatists were represented by six members of the BRN Coordinate, BRN Congress and Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo).

It was previously thought 15 delegates from each side, including representatives from nine insurgent groups, would be present.

Both sides Thursday also agreed on the terms of reference for future peace negotiations and resolved to hold the next round of peace talks on April 29 in Malaysia. A joint statement on Thursday's talks will be issued Friday in three languages - Thai, English, and Bahasa Melayu.

In the bomb attack in Cho Airong district of Narathiwat province Thursday morning, besides the three military rangers who were killed, five others were wounded.

Local officials said 12 paramilitary rangers left their base at Wat Cho Airong and set out on a foot patrol as part of a village protection mission.

As they walked along the Cho Airong-Bukit road in Ban Joh Kroh, rebels used a two-way radio to remotely detonate a bomb made from a cooking gas cylinder planted beside a roadside power pole.

The blast killed rangers Teerachat Sinam-ngern and Pornchai Pho-ngern instantly.

A third ranger, Sangkhom Muanghung, died on the way to hospital.

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Writer: Wassana Nanuam
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