Bomb Explodes in Pattani: 2 dead, 23 injured, 400 demand peace.

On Monday (27 May), a bomb exploded in Bo Thong market, Nong Chik District, Pattani Province at 4.15 pm, a time when people were shopping in preparation for the end of the daily Ramadan fast.

Because of the timing, 2 civilians were killed, while 19 civilians and 4 security officials were injured. It was established later that the dead civilians were 14-year-old Aidilfitri Yago and 35-year-old Saripah Ayosae.

400 religious and community leaders, civilians, students, Buddhists and Muslims gathered at Bo Thong market to demonstrate for an end to violence in all forms.

Their representatives made a 3-point statement:

1. All groups must end violence in all forms in the conflict zone.

2. All groups must cause no more harm to innocent people who are not involved.

3. All groups must stop making public spaces such as markets and government offices targets of the insurgency.

Col Pramote Prom-in, spokesperson for the Forward Command of Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) Region 4, joined the gathering to hold a press conference, providing a summary of the situation, and also an update on identifying the as yet unknown suspects.

On 24 May, Col Thanawee Suwanarat, the deputy spokesperson of the Forward Command of ISOC Region 4, said 735 24-hour active security units have been deployed in all areas of the insurgency. Working with civilians, checkpoints have been set up in every village in the conflict zone to prevent the suspects from escaping.

Before the incident, ISOC reported that violent incidents had declined 66 percent from last year (2018), attributing it to work with civilians and the “come back home” project, which aims to persuade insurgents to return to the judicial process in exchange for reduced sentences. The insurgents need to undertake development projects before they can go back home.   

However, the insurgency in the Deep South continues. Before the general election in March, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the group claiming to represent the insurgents in the Deep South, halted negotiations until the new government is formed and a new envoy has been appointed. The BRM also said it did not accept Gen Udomchai Thammasaroraj, the retired head of the 4th Army Region, as the Thai government representative because he did not come to Malaysia for peace talks.

On 17 May, Ustaz Shukri Hari announced his resignation as a leader of BRN. He said it was due to his health issues. Romadon Panjor of Deep South Watch posted on Facebook calling for the BRN to break silence:

"It's another time BRN should say something, whether to take responsibility or refuse, condemn and justify. Anything at all is okay. Opening for interpretation or secret healing is no longer good enough."