The military have detained 17 people in the restive southern province of Narathiwat with no explanation given. The arrests are believed to be related to last week’s extrajudicial killing of 4 youths.
According to Wartani, a citizen media group, based in the Deep South, the 17 civilians are affiliated with Princess of Naradhiwas University.
At around 5 am on Thursday, the military blockaded and searched four dormitories around the University, and arrested 17 civilians, most of whom are peace activists. The military also collected the DNA of the detainees without presenting any court order.
According to the latest report, they are now detained at three military bases: the camp of the 46th Paramilitary Unit, the Army’s Peleng Camp, and the the camp of 30th Special Unit of Narathiwat. They are not allowed to contact family members and lawyers. Their condition is unknown.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Students in Thailand’s Border Provinces (PerMas) on Friday issued a statement condemning the extrajudicial killings of the four youths and called for the Thai state to immediately release 17 students
On 26 March, the military shot dead four unarmed civilians in a raid in Tung Yang Daeng District of Narathiwat.
According to Khaosod English, the police initially told the media that two of the four men killed in the raid belonged to the RKK, one of several militant groups behind the Islamic insurgency, but later said that none of the deceased had any pre-existing records or arrest warrants related to separatist violence.
According to Wartani, two of the four were merely university students, and the two others were drug addicts. The raid came after villagers gathered to help a family building a house.
“The military may have received false information that the gathering was connected to the insurgency, but actually it was a long khaek” a source told Prachatai. A long khaek is a gathering of members of a rural community to help neighbours do something, such as build a new house, harvest rice, etc.
PerMas urged international human rights organizations to ensure that the investigation into the murder is free and fair. It also demands that the Thai government immediately withdraw its forces from Patani.
“We urge the Thai government in Bangkok to lift martial law imposed in Patani, leading to human rights violations and fuelling the conflict and violence in the region,” said the statement.