Prawit shoots down insurgent group's demands

Prawit shoots down insurgent group's demands

Police at the scene where an insurgent suspect was shot in Thepa district of Songkhla province on Aug 8. The Barisan Revolusi Nasional group has demanded the government release all suspects in cases connected to the southern insurgency as a condition for talks, but Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon quickly rejected the call. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)
Police at the scene where an insurgent suspect was shot in Thepa district of Songkhla province on Aug 8. The Barisan Revolusi Nasional group has demanded the government release all suspects in cases connected to the southern insurgency as a condition for talks, but Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon quickly rejected the call. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has shot down a demand by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgency group for the release of suspects in security cases in the far South before peace negotiations can continue.

"How could they possibly suggest something like that?" Gen Prawit, who is in charge of national security, said on Monday.

On the weekend, BRN officials told Reuters that they met with a Thai delegation at a location in Southeast Asia on Friday and demanded the release of all those who were detained for suspected links to the insurgency movement, and a transparent investigation into abuses by the security forces.

Gen Prawit said the justice process in security cases must be allowed to run its course.

The Thai delegation attending the weekend meeting included a technical team headed by the government’s designated chief negotiator Udomchai Thammasaroraj.

Gen Udomchai is expected to keep his job as chief negotiator, despite his appointment as senator. 

A military source said the efforts to stem the insurgency in the far South had been complicated by the reported interference by elements from a foreign state that allegedly provided training to insurgent operatives active in the southern border provinces. 

However, it remained unclear if the training was provided through personal connections, or whether it was directed by state agencies of the foreign country, according to the source. 

The source also said the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) was attempting to organise a weapons training session for its younger members, although intelligence data suggested no significant preparations were currently underway.



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