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Mariyam Ahmad
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2019 07 04 Publish

Thai police charged a paramilitary volunteer with murder, officials said Thursday, less than a month after a rights group described him as being allegedly involved in ‘a long list of murders’ of ethnic Muslim residents and separatist rebels in the insurgency-wracked Deep South region. Abdul Hakeem Darase, a militiaman in Yala province, was charged with the murder in May of a village headman’s wife about two weeks after he was detained for questioning under martial law, officials said.

Thiraphot Yindee said Abdul Hakeem Darase was accused of opening fire at a car carrying Arsae Niseng, chief of Bannang Kuwae village, in front of a school in Yala on May 9 this year. Arsae survived his injuries but his wife died and their two daughters also suffered wounds in the attack

On May 22 2019, almost two weeks after Arsae Niseng’s ambush-shooting, 55-year-old Sama-ae Sama, vice chairman of the Tha Thong sub-district administration, was also shot and killed in Yala. Security sources told BenarNews that Abdul Hakeem was also suspected of involvement, but it was not immediately clear why he was not charged in that killing.

The Thai Criminal Code classifies murder, a premeditated killing committed with intent and malice, as a capital punishment, which carries the death penalty or 15-20 years in prison. A person sentenced to death in Thailand cannot apply for probation.

A relative of Abdul Hakeem Darase expressed surprise after hearing about the murder charge. ‘It is unbelievable he was eventually charged because I heard officials want to keep the case quiet,’ the relative, who requested anonymity, told BenarNews. ‘I don’t know how the case would end, but the officials would handle it accordingly’

2019 08 19 Publish

In an interview with Reuters, a man identified as a senior BRN member said the group was not behind the Bangkok bombings. ‘We will not attack beyond the three southernmost provinces because we do not want to be perceived as terrorists,’ a man identified as Pak Fakir was quoted as saying. ‘We have our territory. Why should we venture out of it? … Someone else must be behind it’

Pak Fakir is a BRN member but not its spokesman, according to Abu Hafez Al-Hakim, a spokesman for a panel representing insurgent groups that has been engaged in desultory peace talks with the Thai government since 2015

2019 09 19 Publish

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a village chief in Pattani province on Thursday, bringing to three the death toll this week in Thailand’s Deep South, the first killings in the insurgency-hit region after a lull since Aug. 22, officials said. The shooting took place the same day that an unknown number of assailants struck a school building with gunfire in neighboring Yala province, forcing authorities to order a lockdown, authorities said. Samsuding Saro-ang, 48, the headman of Bahoyiruering village in Pattani’s Sai Buri district, was riding a motorcycle before dawn when he was gunned down, a police investigator told reporters

On Monday, suspected rebels fatally wounded two village defense volunteers when they opened fire at a motorcycle convoy after detonating a roadside bomb in Koke Pho, another district in Pattani, Maj. Piyawat Chalermsri, the commander of Pattani police bureau, told reporters. The next day, an unidentified gunman shot and wounded a construction worker who was riding a motorcycle in Pattani’s Maung district, police said

On Thursday morning, gunmen opened fire and struck a building at the Ban Seyoh School in Yaha, a district in Yala province, prompting authorities to order a lockdown

Srisompob Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch, a think-tank, said members of the region’s largest insurgent group, the National Revolutionary Front (BRN), could have resumed their attacks after nearly a month of inactivity due to unfavorable weather conditions. He did not provide evidence to support his allegations

Despite the lull in insurgency-related attacks, casualty figures in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim and Malay-speaking southern border region during the first three quarters this year had already matched 2018’s statistics, Srisompob Jitpiromsri said

According to unofficial figures compiled by BenarNews from police and military records, at least 77 people have been killed and 128 wounded to date this year, while last year saw 80 deaths and 155 injuries

The Thai Deep South borders Malaysia and encompasses Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala provinces as well as four districts in neighboring Songkhla. Almost 7,000 people have been killed in violence in the majority-Muslim region since a separatist insurgency reignited in 2004