Troubles in the South – September 2006

Troubles in the South - September 2006
Troubles in the South index page



(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: After hours petrol vendor in Hat Yai Province.

Yala Governor has petrol stations, gas shops monitored - translated and summarized from Matichon, September 28, 2006
Yala Governor Bunyasit Suwanrat on September 27 urged petrol station and gas shop operators to follow tight security measures at their shops. Bottled oil vendors are urged to close their shops at ten while gas shops are asked to keep gas tanks in a safe place. The move is a bid to prevent arson attacks in the province.
Suchon Hongnipon, manager of Yala Sahaphan Gas, said businesses in the province were seriously affected by southern unrest. He hopes the situation will get better thanks to the political reform.

Four killed in South - Phuket under heavy guard due to attack rumors - translated and summarized from Matichon, September 28, 2006
On September 27, a caretaker at Siriraj Samakki School in Amphur Mayor, Pattani Province was shot dead while he was on a bus on the way to work. Also in Amphur Muang of Yala Province, a grocer was shot dead while he was drinking liquor in front of his grocery. His wife and a motorcycle taxi driver were badly injured and died at the hospital. On the recent attacks at two police stations, the police suspect Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) leader Ustaz Se or Abdulloh Sehayidolor, of involvement in the attacks. The police believe the attacks are a bid to respond to the arrest of five RKK members.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nivit Arunrat, Deputy Police Chief of Phuket, said he set up a force of police and civilian volunteers to set up checkpoints on important routes in Phuket. Safety guards were also sent to shopping centers and at parking lots outside the buildings. This is because of rumors that there would be an attack at a place with lots of people and tourists.
People in Satun cheer as CDRM come to power - 2 more bombing suspects arrested - translated and summarized from Matichon, September 23, 2006
People in Satun Province are cheering as the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) has ousted Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration. The bloodless coup d’etat is expected to bring a better economic atmosphere and a calmer situation in the deep South. It is reported that people in the province set off firecrackers and threw up parties to celebrate the overthrow of Mr. Thaksin. The people urged Muslims in the province to collaborate with Army Commander-in-Chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin to bring peace to the Kingdom. Buddhist people in Pattani and Yala Provinces offered food to monks to dedicate merit to their ancestors and those who have passed away.

PULO official believes coup d’etat could help end southern unrest - Fourth Army Commander takes control of all 14 southern provinces - translated and summarized from Matichon, September 22, 2006
On September 21, AP reported that Lakman B. Lima [the apparent Deputy President of the Pattani United Liberation Organisation - PULO]--now resident in Sweden--is in agreement with the Thai military’s recent decision to seize power from Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup d’etat. Lakman said that the military takeover would help ease the unrest in the southern provinces, as General Sonthi Boonyaratklin was the only person who understood the problems of the region. However, Lakman also added that his organization would fight until "Patani" was reunited and able to enjoy absolute freedom. The provinces that would comprise such a united and independent "Patani" would include Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat Provinces.
Ibrahim Adam (Chairman of Satun Province’s Islamic Committee) has recently commented that the coup can hardly be construed as a loss, as it was staged to return peace to the country.
At the Southern Border Provinces Peacebuilding Command (SBPPC) today, Lieutenant-General Ongkorn Thongprasom (the Fourth Army Region Commander), Lieutenant-General Adul Saengsingkaew (Commissioner-General of Police Region 9) and their aides held a joint press conference to announce progress in the investigation of the twenty-three bank bombings in Yala Province on August 31. Adul disclosed that a large press release was expected to be held some time in October which would provide further details of the case.
Adul went on to comment on the September 16 bombings in Songkhla Province’s Had Yai City Municipal Zone, saying that the authorities would need more time than initially anticipated to finalize their investigations. He added that the cooperation of the general public would be necessary.
Ongkorn said that the Fourth Army Region has been assigned control of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat Provinces--as well as Had Yai. [It is unknown whether this control extends to just the city’s municipal zone, the City District, some parts of Songkhla Province or even the entire province.]
The "Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations" and martial law provisions will be implemented in these areas. The Fourth Army Region has also been assigned to guard major tourist attractions in all fourteen southern provinces which means it will play a significant future role in both Songkhla and Phuket Provinces.
Progress has been reported in the investigation into the September 16 bombings in Had Yai as the recent military coup d’etat and subsequent introduction of nationwide Martial Law has actually aided the investigation process. The authorities are believed to be trying to arrest eleven suspects. The prime suspect is Faisal Hayi Sama-ae who is also wanted in connection with the 2005 bombing at Had Yai International Airport.


Rally of reformed separatists a factor in Had Yai bombings
- translated and summarized from Komchadluek, September 17, 2006
It is now known that there was a prior warning about the September 16 bomb attacks in Songkhla Province’s Had Yai District, but that few preventative measures were then taken to stave off the bombings at five locations in the city center. Five people were killed and 70 injured in the unexpected attack. The authorities have since said that they did not believe such attacks would actually happen again in Had Yai.
September 16 marks the founding of the GMIP (Gerakan Mujahideen Islami Pattani) insurgent movement. It was also the day on which over 3,000 ‘reformed’ Thai Muslim separatists rallied at the Central Mosque in Yala’s City District to show their support for peacebuilding policies. The rally participants also wished to demonstrate their desire to cooperate with the authorities to resolve the current unrest. The possibility of attacks on the rally may have led to security forces been diverted to the event from elsewhere in the region. The separatists may have thus been denied the opportunity of a direct retort. [But provided with an alternative by the reduced security in Had Yai.]
The rally was officially announced on September 2, which gave the separatists enough time to plot the Had Yai attacks as their response to the Yala event.

Arabic website set up by Foreign Ministry - The Nation, September 8, 2006
The Foreign Ministry will today launch its first official Arabic-language website to present a wide range of issues about Thailand, particularly Muslim-related topics and the situation in the deep South, to the Muslim world. The website, www.thai2arab.com, will also feature the role of the monarchy in development projects, state policies on politics, economic development, culture and tourism, as well as relations between Thailand and Muslim nations...

Front pages - September 14, 2006

Left: Thai Rath: Arrest the southern turmoil - Polices and military attack and arrest one of five suspects who planted bombs at banks and was involved in many cases after he hid himself in Amphur Raman, Yala. Finally he was surrounded and seized with war guns and some stolen property.

Right: Krungtep Turakit: The police investigate the area of Mu 3 Tambon Yata, Amphur Raman, Yala and arrest the five suspects who are preparing the unrest. Checking in the house, the police found lots of equipment and one of the suspect had an arrest warrant for killing an officers.


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)

Almost like being there: Merit ceremony in the deep south - September 8, 2006
Mr. John reports: The atmosphere of the 10th month merit ceremony at Wat Sunthonprachatham, Amphur Raman,Yala. Lots of Thai Buddhists come to the temple. There are also many activities of to t amuse children. Meanwhile, there are many police and military to watch for people's safety and check every car.

Security forces to hold official discussions with separatists on September 16 - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit, September 2, 2006

[This article has a fascinating depth of detail lacking from English-language sources. That details of the planned meetings were appearing in the press within 24 hours of the events (a September 2 edition of a newspaper would appear at noon on September 1) hints at the eagerness of the military to take this opportunity to distance themselves from government policy.]

"Southern crisis to end with new, alternate solution” was the subject of a seminar arranged by Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science. The invited speaker, Lt. General Waipoj Srinual, commander of security forces at the Supreme Command headquarters, announced that negotiation is the new, alternative way to solve the southern insurgency.

At the seminar, Wapoj advised that the meeting with separatist organizations and coordinators is planned to be held on September 16 at the Islamic mosque located in the center of the Muang District of Yala Province. This will be the first official meeting of Thai authorities with 3,000 separatists. To show sincerity for reconciliation with one another, this meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 11 to the public. The planned representative of Thailand’s authorities at the meeting is Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratklin.

The chairman of the seminar, Panithan Wattanayakorn of the Political Science Faculty, commented at the end of seminar that negotiation is the right solution to the current situation. He added that he has learnt that the demands of Bersatu (United Front for the Independence of Pattani) in return for negotiating do not include separatism. The demands involve justice in handling affairs such as the cancellation of some names from the insurgent blacklist for whom there is no evidence of involvement with dangerous criminals and allow them to enter Thailand.

Teachers in Thailand, under fire, learn to shoot back - AP, September 8, 2006
“When you pull the trigger, you’ve got to keep steady,” the instructor sternly told the elementary school teachers. “If your hand is shaking you can’t shoot...”


(Photo: Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)

Almost like being there: Giving moral support
- September 6, 2006
Dr. Has reports: On September 6, advisor of Democrat party, Mr. Chuan Leekpai visited to give moral support to bank officers in Yala. Here is his visit at Krungthai Bank, Railway branch.



(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)

Almost like being there: Chaos in the deep south - September 1, 2006
Above: Mr. John reports: The officers investigate the place where the assailant shot Mr. Term Pakdi, 74 years old, who is a resident at No.3, Mu 1 Thambon Thasab, Amphur Muang. Yala. He sold breakfast food to the tea shop every morning. The officers assumed that the assailant shot him because they wanted to sharpen their skills.
Below: Mr. John reports: On August 31, the assailant bombed the 22 banks in 5 amphurs of Yala and caused 24 injured and 1 death. This incident shocked many people because even the safe place like a bank was bombed...


Bank bombing headlines


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)


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