BRN guerrillas cause peace brokers to sweat

BRN guerrillas cause peace brokers to sweat

Group won't join talks on southern unrest

Defecting members of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) separatists spoke to Thai media in February but leaders of the shadowy, Malaysia-based group have turned down three invitations to join peace talks. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Defecting members of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) separatists spoke to Thai media in February but leaders of the shadowy, Malaysia-based group have turned down three invitations to join peace talks. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) guerrillas, believed to be a core movement behind the unrest in the deep South, are refusing to participating in the latest round of peace talks, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said yesterday.

The group have turned down three invitations to join the negotiations between the government and Mara Patani, an umbrella organisation consisting of several separatist groups, said Gen Prawit.

Both the Thai and Malaysian governments have attempted to contact the guerrilla element of the BRN but they were adamant they would not be taking part in the talks, he said.

Mara Patani, known as Party B in the last rounds of talks, consists mainly of the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), the Gerakan Mujahideen IslamPatani (GMIP) and some elements of the BRN who are not guerrillas, said Gen Prawit.

The BRN guerrillas include a group headed by Dulloh Waemanor, Gen Prawit said.

Gen Udomchai Thammasaroraj, the new chief of the Thai negotiation team, said he was not sure if a new round of peace talks being coordinated by former Malaysian police chief Abdul Rahim Noor could take place this year.

The Malaysian facilitator was new to his job and he might need more time to prepare and set up support teams to work to coordinate the new talks, said Gen Udomchai.

"Now we're asking Malaysia to try to involve the BRN guerrillas in new talks, but the group has yet to accept the invitation," he said.

"The reason we want them involved is because this group is very actively involved in the southern violence," he said.

He said the Thai government hopes the Malaysian peace talks facilitator will eventually succeed in encouraging the BRN guerrillas to play ball.

In related news, one out of at least four people suspected to be involved in Sunday's shooting attack that left three people dead at Tha Yi market in Thepha district of Songkhla has been detained for questioning.

The suspect was identified as Dolromae Sani, a resident of tambon Ban Not in Saba Yoi district of Songkhla. He was taken to the 43rd Paramilitary Regiment in Pattani for questioning.

The three people killed in Sunday's attack were two defence volunteers and one village head assistant.

In Rangae district of Narathiwat, one villager was killed and another injured in a drive-by shooting attack carried out in the early hours yesterday.

Pol Capt Chayut Kaeo-nui, a deputy chief investigator at Rangae police station, said he was alerted to the attack about 2am. At the scene, one body was found near a crashed motorcycle, he said.

The dead man was identified as Ma-abidi Kaje, 33, while the injured victim who was rushed to a nearby hospital was named as Marowi Pomaelizo, 26.

A preliminary police probe found the two men were traveling together on the motorcycle when two attackers emerged on another motorcycle and fired at them before fleeing, he said.


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