The National Security Council (NSC) will demand rebel groups curb acts of violence during initial peace talks to be held on March 28 in Malaysia, its secretary-general Paradorn Patanatabut says.
He yesterday confirmed the framework for next week's talks and that a Pattani Metropolis special administration was not on the agenda.
Lt Gen Paradorn, head of the 15-strong Thai delegation, said rebel groups will be presented with three conditions calling on them to scale down violence, stop attacking civilian targets, and end bomb and car-bomb attacks in urban areas.
Nine rebel groups have reportedly expressed interest in taking part in the March 28 talks. They are the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), New Pulo, Pulo 88, BRN Congress, BRN Coordinate, Barisan Islam Pembangunan Pattani, as well as Gerakan Mujahideen Islam Pattani, Gerakan Mujahidin Pattani and Ulama Pattani.
The BRN will need some time to convince other rebel groups to refrain from violence, the NSC chief said.
He admitted the youth wings of southern insurgent groups, who firmly believe violence will help them achieve their goals, will take some convincing.
Violent attacks have continued unabated following the Feb 28 agreement to hold peace talks signed by Lt Gen Paradorn and the BRN in Malaysia.
A bomb blast on Thursday outside an ice cream shop in downtown Narathiwat killed a nine-year-old boy and wounded 14 others.
Lt Gen Paradorn said the bomb attack is likely to cost the insurgents support from sympathisers and was possibly an indication of confusion among rebel groups.
The Thai peace delegation comprises 15 people from the Interior Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Internal Security Operations Command, the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Organisation, Special Branch Police and civil society representatives.
Meanwhile, car tyres were set ablaze on five roads in Pattani's Panare district, local officials said yesterday.
The incidents occurred on a local road in Ban Bang Moo in tambon Nambor, on No.4157 road at Ban Nambor in tambon Nambor, on No. 4157 road at Ban Tha Soo in tambon Nambor, on No.4157 road at Ban Kae Kae also in tambon Nambor, and on a local road in Ban Teen Khao in tambon Tha Nam.
Elsewhere, in Yaring district, an assistant village headman was killed yesterday.
Mayae Adah, assistant chief of Ban Thakul, in Yaring's tambon Taloh Kapo, was attending a bird-singing contest in Moo 3, tambon Bang Poo when a gunman walked up to him, pulled out a 9mm handgun and shot him four times at close range.
He was taken to Yaring Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
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- Writer: Patsara Jikkham