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Insurgents threaten to quit south Thailand peace talks in latest video message
Publication Date : 09-08-2013
In another YouTube video message released on Tuesday night, insurgents in the deep South threatened to quit the peace dialogue, using inflammatory statements to lambaste Thai authorities on unspecific issues.
The clip shows three men wearing balaclavas and combat gear and holding automatic weapons. There have been similar video messages in the past but this is the first time one shows the speakers armed. One of the men says: "The Thai occupiers have committed betrayal, violence, lied and slandered the Pattani people."
Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog said yesterday that he had viewed the clip. He said the insurgents represented by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) would only want to stall the peace dialogue, which he said had not been completely terminated.
"They would like to delay any further talks until Thailand heeds their five demands," said Pracha, who is in charge of national security. He said Thailand should soon discuss the five demands, which are:
- a role for Malaysia as the mediator, not just facilitator;
- that the dialogue continue on behalf of Pattani Malayu people led by BRN;
- observers from Asean, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, and non-governmental organisations;
- unconditional release of all detainees; and
- recognition of BRN as liberators, not separatists.
Pracha said Thai intelligence had contacted BRN for clarity on the demands.
There was no clear answer, and so far certain BRN members still agreed that negotiation was the best way to restore peace.
He repeated a BRN statement that it was not responsible for the killing of highly respected imam Yakob Raisri, of the Pattani Central Masjid. Pracha did not say who was involved, but believed the killing was done by people opposed to the peace dialogue between the BRN and Thai authorities.
The three men in Tuesday's video clip did not refer to incidents that occurred during the Ramadan truce, which they could have used as an excuse to lambaste Thai authorities and quit the dialogue, if they could prove Thai authorities were responsible for those incidents.
There were 86 incidents during the period this year, according to Prince of Songkla University's Deep South Watch (DSW).
The number is lower than the 99 last year. The insurgents killed 52 people and injured 98.
Between July 10 and Wednesday, 29 people were killed and 105 injured. Of the fatalities, six were government officers and nine were local residents. Among the 105 injured, 63 were soldiers.