PATTANI — Another senior figure of the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) insurgent movement has been freed from jail as part of peace efforts in the deep South.
Haji Daoh Thanam, a 58-year-old former Pulo leader, was released on Saturday, before the end of his term, from the Pattani Central Prison. The move was part of the government’s special imprisonment suspension programme to help smooth the way for talks with southern insurgents.
Ismael Gaddafi, alias Sama-ae Thanam, 63, former commander of the Pulo force, was freed from the Yala Central Prison in July under a similar arrangement.
Haji Daoh was indicted in 1998, along with Ismael and three others, on rebellion and separatism charges and has been in prison for the past 17 years. Both Haji Daoh and Ismael were sentenced to life imprisonment but their sentences were commuted due to good behaviour.
Haji Daoh had provided useful information to help security officers resolve insurgency problems in the lower South, authorities said.
The release of Haji Daoh was planned to allow him to reunite with his family in Panare district before the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) begins on Thursday.
A security source said earlier that the duo could become the key link between the government's peace talks team and the insurgent groups.
The source noted that the pair still had credibility in the movement because they did not surrender to the authorities but were arrested, and while in jail they retained their senior positions in Pulo.
The two men have also pledged not to resume involvement in any insurgent networks, the source added.