An insurgent umbrella organisation in Thailand’s restive Deep South has insisted it was not involved in a recent bomb attack that killed a 4-year-old girl and her father. On 9 July 2016, the Mara Patani group posted on its official Facebook page a statement condemning the bomb attacks. The bombing occurred three days earlier at a school in Tak Bai District, in the Deep South province of Narathiwat.
As a new round of peace talks between the Thai government and Deep South insurgents approaches, civil society women have demonstrated in support of the talks and to demand safe zones in public spaces. On Thursday, 1 September 2016, women — both Buddhists and Muslims — from 23 civil society organizations in the restive Deep South marched on the streets of Pattani to show their support for discussions on the Terms of Reference (ToR) between the Thai government and Mara Patani, an umbrella network representing insurgent groups in the Deep South.
The junta head has said insurgents in Thailand’s restive Deep South must stop all violence and merge into one group before initiating peace talks with the Thai government. On Monday, 29 August 2016, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta head and Prime Minister, spoke to the media about discussions on the Terms of Reference (ToR) for talks between the Thai government and Mara Patani, representing insurgent groups in Thailand’s restive Deep South, which will be held on 2 July in Malaysia.
Bangkok is going to unilaterally review the terms of reference (TOR) of the peace dialogue with Muslim Malay insurgents. Meanwhile, delegates of the insurgents groups are disappointed with junta leader disparagement of the talks.
A MARA Patani delegate looks back at the struggle of Patani independence movements. As Thailand and MARA are about to a reach mutual agreement which will kick start the official peace talks, Abu Hafez Al-Hakim says MARA will only have one demand.
Hara Shintaro analyses weakness of the Deep South peace process and suggest ways to move forward productively.
A religious school in the restive Deep South of Thailand accused of involvement with insurgent groups has closed down after the court ordered the confiscation of the school plot of land despite the authorities’ attempts to convince the school operators to appeal the verdict.
Prachatai talked to Romadon Panjor, a civil society worker in Thailand’s Deep South who went to participate in the discussions between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Patani independence group MARA Patani in Kuala Lumpur. Romadon reveals how the discussions went, the OIC’s direction, and how the continuing peace process will probably proceed.
“Patani” is now a very controversial term used to refer to the area encompassing the provinces of Pattani (with 2 t’s,), Yala, Narathiwat, and 4 provinces of Songkhla, mostly inhabited by Malay Muslims and infamous in the news for being a space of conflict. The term arguably carries a strong sense of separatism. The increasing use of the term by CSO, media and the separatists themselves raises concerns among the non-Malay Muslim whether they are included as Patani people and if they will have a say in the right to determine the future of the region.
A Key PULO member talks about his 18 years behind bars, during which he helped to further peace talks.