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BANGKOK 17 February 2019 15:18

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Main southern Thai insurgent group rejects army peace plan

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Main southern Thai insurgent group rejects army peace plan

 

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The most prominent insurgent group in Thailand's south rejected the military's peace plan in a rare statement on Monday, underscoring Bangkok's inability to open negotiations with the actual fighters in the conflict.

 

The country's southernmost border provinces, which were annexed by Thailand more than a century ago, have been plagued with violence for over a decade as ethnic Malay rebels battle Thai troops for more autonomy from the Buddhist-majority state.

 

The fighting has claimed more than 6,800 lives -- mostly civilians -- since 2004, with both sides accused of rights abuses and atrocities.

 

The shadowy Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) is believed to be behind much of the violence, although it never claims attacks and shuns publicity.

 

On Monday it outlined objections to Bangkok's peace plan, saying it "must include the participation of third parties (international community) as witnesses and observers" and that an "impartial" mediator should lead the talks, not the Thai army.

 

In February the military and a group of rebel peace negotiators agreed to create a cluster of "safety zones" -- the first small but significant step in a much delayed peace process.

 

Thailand's generals, who seized power in 2014, touted the deal as proof the army-led peace process had legs. 

 

But many experts have long remarked that the only rebel group Bangkok will agree to talk to -- the Mara Patani -- has little control over fighters on the ground.

 

Thailand's military treats the insurgency as a purely internal security issue and has baulked at any suggestion of outside involvement from the international community.

 

There have been talks in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur with Mara Patani. But they have staggered on for years, undercut by near-daily bombs, ambushes and assassinations in the Deep South and a decade of political instability in Bangkok.

 

BRN's statement followed a weekend of coordinated bombings across the south that targeted electricity poles. 

 

The attacks caused widespread blackouts but no casualties and were seen as a reminder from the insurgents that they can still cause trouble despite a strong military presence and harsh martial law restrictions. 

 

Those bombings came hours after Thailand's new King Maha Vajiralongkorn signed into law a military-backed constitution that will curb the power of elected lawmakers and bolster the army's role in any future government.

 

The southern region was one of few areas to reject that constitution when it was put to a referendum last year.//AFP

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30311910

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-4-10

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18 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

[BRN] rejected the military's peace plan

The peace plan has always been more of a unilateral surrender plan. Not surprising that BRN continues to reject it. As the military continues to abuse the sovereignty of all Thai People through its absolute power now legitimized by the 2017 Constitution in Article 265, the insurgents may even begin to gain support from elsewhere in Thailand outside the Southern provinces as an indirect means to demonstrate against the military government in general. 

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