Thailand: Muslim insurgents leader killed in clash

Active member of Runda Kumpulan Kecil group reportedly killed in 30-minute gunfight in Narathiwat province

Thailand: Muslim insurgents leader killed in clash

World Bulletin / News Desk

A key insurgent leader in Thailand’s Muslim south has been killed in a gunfight with security forces, according to local media Monday.

Masukarueno Yakumo, known as an active member of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil group, was killed after a 30-minute clash at his father-in-law’s house in southern Narathiwat province, 1,100 kilometers (621 miles) south of Bangkok.

Security forces moved in to arrest Yakumo after receiving a tip off from local officials Sunday and engaged in a gunfight with the insurgent, the Bangkok Post reported.

His wife and father-in-law were taken into police custody for questioning after the incident.  

On Sunday evening, a volunteer ranger and his brother were shot dead in the neighboring province of Pattani.

The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between the Malay Muslims living in the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and some districts of Songhkla, and the Thai central state where Buddhism is de facto considered the national religion.

Armed groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools. The Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO) had been the dominant rebel group until it faded away in the middle of the 1990s.

In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement -- composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) or National Revolutionary Front -- re-emerged. Since then, the conflict has killed 6,400 people and injured over 11,000, making it one of the deadliest low-intensity conflict on the planet.

A peace dialogue had begun under the elected government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2013, but was suspended in December that year due to political tensions in Bangkok.

The May 22, 2014 coup against Yingluck’s government that brought the junta to power added more uncertainty to a possible peaceful solution to the conflict, despite the military expressing commitment to pursue talks.

Six rebel groups, including PULO and BRN, have recently set up a Consultative Council of Patani, under the name MARA Patani, in order to coordinate for eventual peace talks. But as noted by the International Crisis Group report, “BRN hardliners remain uncommitted”.

Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2015, 09:32
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