Majlis Syura Patani (MARA Patani)
Five months after agreeing on preconditions for peace talks, the Thai government and Deep South insurgent groups have agreed on a general framework to set up safety zones in the restive region. On 28 February 2017, Abu Hafez Al-Hakim, a delegate and key member of MARA Patani, an umbrella organization of Deep South independent movements, announced that the group and the Thai government representatives to the Deep South peace negotiations in Malaysia had reached an agreement on a framework to establish safety zones.
Officials have confirmed the death of a key leader of Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the largest armed insurgent group operating in Thailand’s restive Deep South. Authorities claim the death will not disturb ongoing peace talks between the government and rebel groups. On 15 January 2017, Gen Aksara Kerdphol, who leads the government’s committee on border province peace talks, confirmed the passing of Sapaeing Baso, a leader of BRN.
In an unusual move, an insurgent militant affiliated with the largest Deep South insurgent group has claimed responsibility for both a recent attack on a school in Narathiwat and the Mother’s Day attack.
Alleged separatist insurgents detonated a bomb in southern Thailand outside a school that killed a man and his daughter, Human Rights Watch said today. The deliberate attack on the school, a civilian structure, amounts to a war crime and denies children their right to education.
The Thai government and the Deep South insurgent groups have agreed on preconditions before moving ahead to the ‘official’ peace talks and a discussion over establishing safe zones in the restive region. Abu Hafez Al-Hakim, a delegate and key member of MARA Patani, an umbrella organization of the Deep South independent movements, announced on Friday, 2 September 2016, that the group and representatives of the Thai government to the Deep South peace negotiations in Malaysia had reached an agreement on the latest version of the Terms of Reference (ToR).
Prachatai talked with a key member of Thailand’s restive Deep South’s liberation movement engaging in a peace dialogue with Bangkok about the violence during Ramadan month, their strategy and the future of the peace process.
Abu Hafez Al-Hakim, a MARA Patani delegate discussed about the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the peace dialogue between Bangkok and MARA Patani, as umbreralla organization of the insurgent movements. The TOR, if endorsed, will kick start the official peace dialogue.
The removal of a senior military officer who had played a key role in the Thai dialogue team in the southern peace talks, and the team's unreadiness to endorse the draft terms of reference (ToR), raise concerns about whether the process is facing a deadlock. The technical teams of Party A, representing the Thai government, and Party B, a term defined as "people with different opinions from the state" and represented by Mara Patani, have spent several months working on the ToR.
After expressing his frustration over the latest Deep South peace talks, the Thai junta leader warned media not to criticise the government for the stalled peace dialogue with Deep South insurgent groups.
MARA Patani, the umbrella organization of the independence movements, say the orchestrated insurgent incidents, including a siege at a public hospital, in Thailand’s Deep South does not affect the dialogue and in turn emphasizes the importance of having bilateral agreement on the ceasefire zone.