Violence in Thailand’s Deep South escalated in recent weeks as hardline insurgents tried to dissuade comrades from surrendering through the military’s Bring People Home rehabilitation program, a leader of the region’s biggest rebel group said Wednesday.
Hardliners launched the attacks this month to create fear among other insurgents, the political wing leader of Barisan Revolusi Nasional (the National Revolutionary Front, or BRN), who identified himself as Uzmai, said in a rare interview with BenarNews. Citing concerns for his own safety, he asked that his identity and location not be publicized.
“They claimed they conducted the attacks to challenge the program and to create fear among the insurgent members, giving them a message to not surrender. So the situation got more violent,” Uzmai told BenarNews.
In early February, Lt. Gen. Piyawat Nakwanich, the army commander in Thailand’s southern border region, presented nearly 300 enrollees identified as insurgents, including BRN members, as they surrendered symbolically as part of the newly revamped Bring People Home project.
In addition, more than 100 members of the Patani United Liberation Organization, another southern Thai rebel group, traveled from Malaysia where they had settled years ago to sign up for the program.
Full story: BenarNews
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