Troubles in the South – December 2005

Troubles in the South - December 2005

Troubles in the South index page



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

Almost like being there: Yala checkpoint - December 30, 2005
Mr John reports: The police of Yala police station set up a checkpoint to supervise safety during the New Year period and encourage people not to drink and drive and to wear helmets and use safety belts every time they drive.


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

Almost like being there: Passing the course - December 30, 2005
Mr. John reports: 350 police, patrol police and village safety officers that passed the security course of the Southern Border Provinces Peace-Building Command. They prepare to perform safety duties in their villages. This is the first team to operate in Amphur Raman, Yala and each receives 4500 baht a month salary. Another team coming from Tak province will join soon.

What happens when people are questioned in the deep south?
Report: "How can Poh Ji be guilty?"--people ask how one-legged grandpa could be accused
- Komchadluek, December 19, 2005

[Poh Ji is "uncle-grandpa" in Jawi. Actually Jawi is considered a Malay language which is widely spoken in suburban and outlying areas of the three southern Thai provinces--Naradhiwat, Yala and Pattani]

There were some residents living in the three southern provinces called for questioning who were found to be disabled and hospital patients.

Ma-doh Wabuesa, a disabled old man, showed the official letter received from the government that he was to be investigated for unidentified reasons.

"I have been being inquiring, but up till now I do not understand why a man with one leg left like me was enlisted for investigation?" No one could answer the question expressed in Jawi by Ma-doh Wabuesa, a 70 year-old man with his synthetic left leg from his knee down who supports himself with a crutch.

Ma-doh Wabuesa and another eight persons in his family live in a small wooden hut at 74 Moo.3 Tumbol Buemang, Amphur Raman, Yala Province. He was suspected of being related to the southern violence and received an official notice letter saying he would be investigated by the national army detectives for information related to the southern violence. The people called must be investigated as a witness of the violence and are required to report in person to the Army Brigade Force Division 12 (Nerancharawas Temple) Tambol Bangnungsta, Amphur Banangsata,Yala Province. The day to report was February 28, 2005.

"That day in the afternoon, the headman of the village came to me to confirm the appointment for me and another 23 men in the same village. The next day we all would first meet at his place and he would lead us to the Army base."

Ma-doh said that when everyone arrived at the appointed place, the headman took them to the Amphur [District's Governor Office] where they were picked up by car and taken to the Army Brigade Force Division in Pattani. The first day they were interviewed for almost two hours and then all were released to the arranged rest house.

"There was an agent who took me to an investigation room which there was a camera installed [probably a video camera, but they do not specify]. I was frightened by such an environment and the agent told me not to be frightened because it is a typically practice and they normally take pictures of everyone for record keeping." The 70-year-old man additionally described to us that he was questioned in Jawi, because he could not speak Thai at all. The questions they asked were his name, how many children he had, each of his children's names and what career they were in. There were also other questions about him such as how many cars did he have, what was his car's license number, etc. He was questioned like this for almost two hours and then they took him to the rest house. They provided him with a loincloth, a hat and a t-shirt to wear during the stay.

"Then, on day two, each of us was interviewed again with exactly the same questions as asked on the first day in the same room and it took two hours. We were interviewed by the agent every day like that for seven days and we were under their supervision during this time."

Ma-doh explained that the questions asked by the soldier never changed and he did not understand why they kept asking the same questions again and again. He no longer felt frightened, but bored, confused and wondered why they asked the same questions again and again. He dared not ask the soldier what he did wrong to make them bring him for questioning.

"When they let me go home, I got a letter. It was a verification letter of investigation approval." The old man guessed that an incident happened that caused to be on the government list for questioning happened 15 days before when a police officer came to his place and asked for a security check inside his little hut. The police left, nothing was taken from his house, and they did not ask any questions.

"Until today, I still do not know why he was taken. What had he done wrong nobody clarified," said Mrs. Mae-Leemoh Wabuesa, the 62-year-old wife of Madoh. She said that while the headman came to get him, she was very confused and could not imagine what her husband had done illegal. The headman just told her that everything was going to be all right and he will return home within seven days.

"While he was there, me and all my family were really worried about him. We did not know what would happen. My husband lost a leg, got the synthetic leg to replace it, and uses a crutch to be able to walk. I was afraid that he might fall down. He is just an old man. Luckily there were also others that accompanied him that he could possibly ask for help," said by Mae-Leemoh, adding that he was the one-legged for years. Wherever he goes, apart from the synthetic leg, he uses a walking stick, but still needs someone's support to walk. Especially at his present old age, it is impossible for him to go out and do something wrong or hurt someone. He could not even stand on his own. "Myself and everyone in our family were confused about the reason for taking him away. And when he returned home, no agent nor officer or anyone else came to us again."

Mrs. Beebah Wabuesa, 28-year-old daughter of PohJi Madoh, expressed that she was very worried about her father while he was away for investigation. She was confused why a physically disabled 70-year-old man was also being enlisted--most of the enlisted are young men or teenagers, but she thought why the elderly too?

"My brother has never been enlisted for investigative declaration. Today I still feel frightened if the government agent may come to get him and I feel pity for my dad." Mrs. Beebah also said her dad once told her that he was not afraid if there would be another inquiry because he had done no wrong and in his condition he could not hurt anyone so there was no need to fear.

The requisition of investigation happened to Madoh Wabuesa, is another case which really presents the government's performance and judgment--that a weak disabled man was considered as the one in violence involved target group to be investigated.

Thai military prepared to counter new tactics by insurgents - Bernama, December 27, 2005
...Sonthi said that the Royal Thai Army is currently operating in small and manoeuvrable squads, instead of large units, in the restive South, and that military units across the nation are instructed to constantly exchange information with each other and with other government units and civilian agencies and not to take too many days off during festive periods.
He dismissed allegations of warnings that a group of foreign militants is currently standing by 'somewhere outside Thailand', waiting to secretly slip into the South for insurgency during the forthcoming New Year...


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

Almost like being there: Two shot dead - December 25, 2005
Mr. John reports: The police are investigating the bodies of Mr.Term Srisuwan, 52-years-old, and Mr. Nikom Zaengo, 45-years-old, villagers were shot by bad guys as they were riding motorcycles to visit relatives. The killers also rode motorcycles. This happened at the road Pong-ngoe-Salopatae, Moo 3, Thambon Kayooborkor, Amphur Raman, Yala.


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


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


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

Almost like being there: Car bomb/PM visits flood areas - December 23, 2005
Above: A car bomb injures 7 in Narathiwat. Below: PM Thaksin visits flooded areas in the South after being criticized in the press for "snubbing" the region in the wake of the flooding.


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


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

Almost like being there: Flooded south - December 21, 2005

Mr. John writes: Heavy rain makes floods in many districts of Songkhla such as Had Yai. People who stay outskirts have trouble. People complain that the government emphasizes preventing floods in business areas making the outside areas having heavy floods.

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


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


(Photo: Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)
Left: Temporary shelters set up by those made homeless by the floods.


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

Almost like being there: Yala flooded - December 19, 2005
More photos of flooded Yala including a cat in a tree and cows that have moved to higher ground in a football pitch.


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


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


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


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

Almost like being there: Yala flooded - December 18, 2005
Dr. Has writes: This is the old market area in Yala. Yala had the biggest flood in 40 years in the area that on December 18 at 16.30 p.m.


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

Above: Water is flowing over to Raman-Talohhalor road at 17.00 p.m. today (December 18). Small cars cannot drive. People in Raman are lacking water because the water supply does not work.


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

Above and below: On December 17, water in Pattani river overflowing out of a pipe into the municipality of Yala. This is the biggest flood in many years.


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


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

A curiosity from the deep south - December 20, 2005
Mr. John writes: An old poster used to incite Thai people to resist the English military in WW2, about year 1941. The poster says "Destroy English that is Asia's enemy" and "Join with Japan to fight the English which oppresses Thais for a long time--Japan hopes Thailand to prosper." This poster is hanging at Big Gun Military Battalion 5, Prapokklao Camp, Amphure Muang, Songkhla.


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

Almost like being there: Mudslide in Songkhla - December 15, 2005
Mr. John writes: There was the mudslide at Khao Tungkuan, Songkhla. Mud slid down on peoples' houses damaging two homes at Sadao Road near the back of the Songkhla governor's residence. Mr. Somboon Kumpawong was killed died and his wife was injured. Their 12-year-old son was buried in the side and although officers tried to dig him out, he died as well.


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


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


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

Almost like being there: Words from a bomb maker - December 10, 2005
Mr. John writes: Mr. Asawan Arwaekaji (right), 26-years-old, is a suspect in making more than 100 bombs for the unrest in Naratiwat. He reveals for the press conference that he joined the unrest movement since 2003 and it was lead by his friend. He has skill in electronics so he practiced to create bomb circuits.
He said after the first bomb was set at the telephone organization, he felt guilty and tried to surrender many times, but he was threatened with death so he did not dare. He felt glad more than sorry to be arrested. His mother (left) is sorry for her son's misguided ways and advised others to take care of their children.




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

Almost like being there: Flood relief - December 11, 2005
Dr. Has writes: On December 11 the Yala governor came to distribute things for flood relief to villagers at Thambon Talohharlor, Amphure Raman, Yala.


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

Almost like being there: Image building? - December 9, 2005
Mr. John writes: On December 9, Air Chief Marshal Kongsak Wantana, Interior Minister, came to get information about the 'risk group' of 137 persons from Pattani and Yala who are thought to be at risk to join the unrest. Some of them revealed that they are not guilty and not involved with the unrest, but were forced by the government to inform and participate. This made the media accuse the government of setting up a scene to make it look like people come to inform and participate.



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

Almost like being there: Flooding in Yala - December 8, 2005


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



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

Almost like being there: Capture of Manazae Jehlah - December 8, 2005
Interior Minister denies top insurgent arrested in Malaysia - TNA, December 8, 2005


(Photo: Via Mr. John for 2Bangkok.com)
Earlier: Almost like being there: Caught! - December 7, 2005
Mr. John writes: The police confine Mr. Manazae Jehlah, leader of PULO, (the unrest movement in the South) and investigate him after Malaysian government arrested him and extradited him to Thailand to continue the investigation. Mr. Manazae is alleged to be involved in many cases of the Southern unrest and has a reward three million baht for his capture.


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

Almost like being there: "Peace thambon" - December 7, 2005
Mr. John writes: About 2000 villagers in Amphure Mayor, Pattani walk in a rally in heavy rain and declare their thambon to be a peace thambon. After the rally, they deliver the banner saying "Peace Thambon" to the thambon center. [Thambon is a subdistrict in a province.]


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

Almost like being there: A new school - December 5, 2005
Dr. Has writes: On December 5, the Yala governor, government officials and people in Yala and nearby areas participated in laying the foundation stone of Prachanukro 41 [a new school] at Ban Toh Arlee, Thambon Wangpaya, Amphur Raman, Yala. Representatives from Amphur Natawee, Songkhla, Amphure Muang, Satun, Amphur Muang, Pattani and Amphur Rangae Narathiwat also joined the ceremonies. This school, especially for Thai Muslims in the south, is a valuable asset for the people in 5 southern border provinces. It will open in year 2006 and will focus teaching on regular, occupational, and religious subjects.


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

Almost like being there: Going to Bangkok to protest - December 4, 2005
Dr. Has writes: On December 4, The Confederation of Teachers, Yala sent its representative teachers from the three southern border provinces to Bangkok to resist the transferring of control of education to local administration.


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

Almost like being there: Training to check for bombs - December 3, 2005
Mr. John writes: 'Support Peace Unit of the Southern Border' trains more than 100 government officials, civil officials and volunteers to understand how to notice bombs.

Security forces given 'taboo' phrase manual - Bangkok Post, December 1, 2005
...For example, a "psychological operation" should be replaced with "promotion of understanding".
"People" should be used instead of Thai people/Muslim people, while police and soldiers should be referred to as "state officials".
"Shooting of a civilian" should be replaced with "an attempt to do harm to an innocent citizen". And it is more politically correct to refer to an act of shooting at a helicopter by insurgents as "harassing fire directed at an aircraft"...

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