NSC: Continued violence to be discussed
The recent upsurge in violence in the troubled southern provinces will be a key topic of discussion when the second round of peace talks with separatist groups opens on Monday.
- Published: 27/04/2013 at 06:04 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
National Security Council (NSC) chief Paradorn Pattanatabut said on Saturday that his team would ask which groups were responsible for the past month's violent acts and why.
During the first round of talks on March 28 in Malaysia, Lt-Gen Paradorn challenged separatist leaders to prove their good faith by pressing insurgents on the ground to stop attacking civilians.
Critics of the government have questioned whether the groups at the negotiating table have any meaningful influence over the insurgents. Most of those involved in the violence are young and not all have strong political convictions.
Lt-Gen Paradorn said six representatives of the separatists would attend the talks on Monday - one from the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) and five from the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo).
Paradorn: All sides must be heard as each has different problems. (EPA Photo)
The Thai government negotiating team will include the NSC chief, along with Gen Nipat Thonglek, deputy defence permanent secretary; Pol Col Thawee Sodsong, secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC); Gen Samret Srirai, a special adviser to the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence' Pol Lt Gen Saritchai Anekwiang, commander of the Special Branch Bureau; Maj Gen Nakrop Boonbuathong, deputy director of the 5th coordination centre of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc); Pramuk Lamun, the Pattani governor; Srisompop Jitpiromsri, director of the centre for follow-up on conditions in the South; Asiz Benhawan, chairman of the Southern Border Provinces Peace Promotion Advisory Council; and Maj Gen Charin Amornkaew, chief-of-staff of the 4th Army.
The NSC chief said the government side wanted to talk with all separatist groups because each has different problems and demands. It is necessary to hear from all of them in order to explore possible ways out.
The talks will take place one day after the ninth anniversary of the 2004 Krue Se Mosque incident, which is viewed as the starting point of renewed violence in the South after several years of relative calm.
Asked whether Krue Se would be raised for discussion, Lt-Gen Paradorn said he would rather not mention it, as all sides should look forward and not dwell on the past.
On April 28, 2004, during the term of the Thaksin Shinawatra administration, 32 suspected guerrillas took shelter in the mosque on the Pattani-Narathiwat highway in Pattani's Muang district.
After a seven-hour standoff, military forces attacked and killed all 32.
The attack was made in contradiction of orders from the defence minister to end the confrontation peacefully, and has been the subject of an international inquiry, which concluded that the military used excessive force.
Military, police and civilian units in Pattani have stepped up security measures ahead of the ninth anniversary of the Krue Se incident.
Officers on Friday night began setting up more security checkpoints and stepping up searches of areas suspected to be hideouts of militants in the troubled southernmost province.
Security forces became even more vigilant after a combined government force killed three suspected militants in a clash in Yala province on Friday.
Intelligence reports reaching them said that four vehicles - two cars and two pickup trucks - loaded with bombs were suspected to have been brought into the province for attacks to mark the Krue Se anniversary.
On Saturday morning in Pattani, a ranger was killed in a gun attack and two others wounded in another incident.
In the first incident at 8.50am, Muhammai Saifu Abdultolep was on his way to work when he was shot by two militants on a motorcycle in Sai Buri district.
He died later at Sai Buri Hospital.
In the other incident at about 9.30am, militants detonated a bomb while a team from Ranger Company 4203 was on foot patrol near Moo 3 in tambon Paseyawo in Sai Buri. After the explosion, a clash between the patrol and the militants followed.
Two rangers - Thirasak Sudari, 25, and Sithichai Thammachart, 22 - were wounded. They were admitted to Sai Buri Hospital.
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