Friday, August 31, 2007

Thailand's southern rebels prepared for 5 more years before they will talk to government

Policeman so scared of insurgent attack on outpost he kills himself

MUHAMMAD AYUB, PATHAN


A police lance corporal shot himself dead at an outpost in Pattani's violence-plagued Sai Buri district yesterday after suffering from stress caused by fear of an insurgent attack. Pol L/Cpl Adisak Khanpabutra, 25, was found dead in the outpost about 7am yesterday.

Sai Buri police chief Pol Col Khamron Yodrak said Pol L/Cpl Adisak had been positioned in the district for three months and had a history of mental problems.

Police colleagues said he was playing a computer game and listening to radio before shooting himself in the head.

His death has triggered concern about the mental health of police officers working in the deep South.

The government should take their welfare seriously, Pol Col Khamron said.

The post where Pol L/Cpl Adisak was stationed had previously been attacked. Three policemen were killed.

The size of the unit was later increased to better protect the outpost. This caused overcrowding, on top of the anxiety about future attacks.

In Mayo district, village head Masameg Sameng was shot dead and three other people were wounded in an attack on Wednesday night.

In Yala, a janitor and his daughter were injured in a drive-by shooting in Muang district yesterday morning.

The National Defence College has issued recommendations on coping with the southern violence, urging state agencies to take into account external factors such as the Islamic revolution for pure Islam and anti-globalisation in their counterinsurgency strategies in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Army spokesman Col Akkara Tipparoj said this week's Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on violence in Thailand's deep South confirmed that villagers there were victims of severe human rights violations by insurgent groups.

Released on Tuesday, the report said Muslim Malay rebels in the region are prepared to continue their armed struggle for an independent Muslim homeland for another five years before they contemplate talks with the Thai government.

It confirmed that more than 2,400 people have been killed in the violence since it erupted in January 2004.

Col Akkara said the report was a wake-up call for all Thais to help put an end to the unrest in the far South.

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