Saturday, September 10, 2005

Diplomacy best way to help "refugees"

KOTA BARU: The long history and close ties between Malaysia and Thailand can help resolve the impasse involving 131 Thais seeking temporary shelter here, Malaysia-Siamese Association president Senator Siw Chun Eam said.

Saying that the diplomatic channel was the best platform to resolve the problem, she added that the two countries should respect each other as neighbours and strategic partners within Asean.

"I am confident we can resolve the issue as neighbours and not resort to sentiments that make each other uneasy," she said in an interview.

Siw Chun was commenting on reports that Thailand was angry with the Kelantan government for accusing it of being high-handed in tackling the unrest in southern Thailand.

The Thai side is even considering reducing border-crossing operational times here.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said the idea of reducing border operating times did not make sense.

Nik Abdul Aziz said Kelantan and southern Thai provinces like Narathiwat were enjoying the benefits of brisk cross-border trade and tourism.

"Kelantan has become a market for Thai goods and Thais want to buy some of our goods which are cheaper here," he said. - The Star

Other news:
  • Fear and mistrust high among Muslims
  • Top Brass From M'sia And Thai Armed Forces Meets In Bangkok
  • Siamese PM Wants Renewed Dialogue With Opposition On Troubled South

    BANGKOK, Sept 10 - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has said he wants to revive talks with the opposition on way to deal with the insurgency in the country's predominately-Muslim southern provinces, the Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

    Thaksin said his previous meeting on Thursday with MPs from the southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, who are all from the opposition Democrat Party, represented a constructive step forward in restoring peace to the restive South.

    He said such a dialogue should continue, and suggested future meetings could occur at venues in the southern region.

    Thaksin said that after his upcoming visit to the United States, he would like to spend more time gathering information about the troubled region in the field and members of the opposition would be invited to join him - BERNAMA

    Muslim Army Chief To Vows Soft Approach? Liar

    BANGKOK, September 9, 2005 – Siamese first Muslim army chief vowed Friday, September 9, to employ a softer approach, not soldiers, in dealing with unrest in the predominantly Muslim South.

    "I'd rather use the mouth and negotiations than weapons to fight the insurgency," General Sonthi Booyaratglin told Reuters.

    Siam Thursday, September 8, named Sonthi as its new army chief, the first-ever such move in the overwhelmingly Buddhist country to have a Muslim assume the post.

    Sonthi, a Vietnam War veteran, said military operations in the turbulent Muslim south had to change from combat to a focus on psychological and intelligence work.

    "Mass psychology comes first for the work of special forces, therefore my philosophy is a victory without a combat."

    The Muslim commander, who will assume office in October 1, will have two years in office before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60.

    Sonthi graduated from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy and was commissioned to the Royal Army Infantry Corps.

    Among other posts he assumed, he was recently commanding general of the elite Special Warfare Command.


    The Muslim commander said he would approach Muslim civilians in the South to have their trust in an effort to help quell unrest in the area.

    "In the future, our troops must be able to give them warmth and friendliness to give people confidence that they can trust us, then the situation will improve," he said.

    Sonthi, however, ruled out the possibility of daily violence in the South would vanish in the near future.

    The Siam government has declared emergency rule across the south, once an independent Muslim sultanate, under a decree rubber-stamped by a hastily convened cabinet meeting on July 15.

    The controversial measure grants Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra the power to impose curfews, censor news, ban public meetings, tap phones and hold suspects without charge for up to 30 days.

    Siam is a predominantly Buddhist nation but Muslims make up about five percent of the population and mostly live in the five southern provinces bordering Malaysia.

    Military Tactics

    Sonthi maintained that the Siam army needs to change military tactics in the south to deal with a kind of unrest the Thai army had not dealt with before.

    "Our troop deployments in the south have been designed to fight in World War Two or communist guerrillas during the Cold War, but now we need many state agencies to help put all these jigsaw pieces together to solve the problem," Sonthi said.

    Thai national rights watchdog has accused the army of "violent breaches of human rights" against Muslims in the south.

    The International Crisis Group (ICG) stressed on Thursday, May 19, that the Siam government's failure to address injustices and open a genuine dialogue with Muslim leaders in the south is the real reason behind unrest in the country - & News Agencies

    Former Malaysian leader stirs Thai border tensions

    MAHATHIR Mohamad, the outspoken former Malaysian prime minister, has stoked tensions with Thailand by suggesting that 131 refugees who fled across the border to Malaysia last week "may deserve asylum".

    The refugees, who fled to the northern Malaysian state of Kelantan, claim they feared for their lives after Thai soldiers arrived in their village looking for supporters of the insurgents.

    Despite Thai protests, the refugees are being interviewed by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to establish if their claims of harassment by security forces are true.

    The Thai Muslims fled after a village imam was killed on August 29. Initially the villagers, including women and children, blocked police from entering the village, believing Government officials were involved in the murder. The Government then threatened to use the new state of emergency decree and the villagers fled to Malaysia.

    "I think if the people are real refugees, then we need to give them some asylum," Dr Mahathir said in Kuala Lumpur.

    In Bangkok, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra sidestepped the issue at his weekly news conference. "I'm dying to tell you everything I know, but officials have asked me not to address the issue in public because it is very sensitive. So let the foreign ministry and the security agencies work on the case. All I can say is the Government guarantees the safety of all people," Mr Thaksin said.

    Dr Mahathir also upset Thai authorities last year by suggesting giving autonomy to Thailand's three Muslim majority provinces, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

    "I think it was not a welcome idea as far as the Thais are concerned. I made the suggestions thinking that it would be something that would help solve the problem," he said.

    Panitan Wattanayagorn, an expert on southern Thailand at Bangkok's Chulalonghorn University, said that at an international level Malaysia had a position of protecting Muslim citizens, but in practice Malaysia has always co-operated with Thailand.

    "Both countries realise they cannot do without the other. But Dr Mahathir no longer has to worry about dealing with the Thais after he makes comments," Dr Panitan said.

    Thailand's foreign ministry has dismissed the refugees as a ploy by an insurgent group, the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), to show Thailand in a bad international light.

    The latest violence in southern Thailand has been going on since January 2004 and more than 800 people have died. - The Age

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    You can't call them refugees - QnA session with traitor

    Ten months after 78 demonstrators in Tak Bai district died in military custody, Narathiwat province was again the focal point when 131 Thai Muslims fled to Kelantan. Narathiwat governor Pracha Taerat tells what he thinks is fuelling the violence in southern Thailand.

    Q: How’s the situation in Narathiwat?
    A: Calm. The violence as reported in the media is blown out of proportion and sensationalised. What is reported is far from the truth.

    Q: What about the 131 refugees who fled to Kelantan on Aug 30?
    A: You can’t call them refugees. Many people cross over to Kelantan every day. About 10,000 of them go over to Malaysia to work. Do you call these people refugees? It’s very wrong to do so and both the Malaysian and Thai governments must understand this. If you look at the majority of restaurants in Kelantan, they are staffed by Thais who have no work permits.

    About 10 of the group are suspected to be involved in previous attacks in southern Thailand. They incited the rest to cross over.

    Q: The group claims it fears persecution by the Thai military.
    A: Only terrorist suspects say they feel insecure, not everyone in the group. The Thai military have no problems at all with most of the 131.

    Q: Have you made contact with the group?
    A: We have been co-operating with the Malaysian Government to gain access to them, but so far they have not allowed us in to meet with the group.

    Q: What would you tell them?

    A: I would tell them not to be afraid of the security situation in the province. I would say not to worry and that I would personally guarantee their safety. The police and military would not do anything to harm them.

    Q: You visited the family of slain imam Abdul Wafa Yusof in Kampung Rahan, Sungai Padi district and was almost blocked by angry villagers. (The family claims that Abdul Wafa was shot by Thai soldiers on Aug 29. The killing sparked the exodus of the 131.)
    A: The family harboured ill-feelings towards the military and police, so we had to convince the security forces to stay out of the visit. We went there to offer our assistance like financial support for their children’s studies.

    Q: Did the family members say their father was killed by Thai soldiers?
    A: They felt that way, yes. But we did not dwell on this. We focused on offering them aid and help.

    Q: A lot of Thai Muslims distrust the military and police. Why?
    A: I think not all Thai Muslims fear the authorities. The ones who do are the suspected militants and those behind the violence. We have 60,000 Thai Muslims in the province, of whom only about 1,000 are suspected terrorists.

    Q: How is the relationship between Thai Muslims and Buddhists now?
    A: Not so good compared to 10 years ago. The terrorists have been able to drive a wedge between the two communities.

    No religion condones violence, but those who are behind the conflict have used religion as a tool for their purposes - NST

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    EXCLUSIVE-Malay separatists say behind southern Thai unrest

    By Ed Cropley

    BANGKOK, Aug 28 - A bloody insurgency in Muslim southern Thailand is a struggle for the independence of its ethnic Malay majority involving tens of thousands of people ready to die for their cause, a senior separatist figure said.

    In his first interview with a major news organisation since violence flared 20 months ago, a spokesman for the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (PULO) said his movement had no ties to international groups such as Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda or its southeast Asian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiah.

    "We have no connection with those terrorists," the senior member of PULO, a separatist group behind a guerrilla campaign in Thailand's three southernmost provinces in the 1970s and 1980s, told Reuters. He did not want to be identified.

    "Our struggle is for our own people, to get back what is rightfully ours. Pattani belongs to the Malays, just like Malaysia," he said of violence whose origins were something of a mystery until recently.

    Since January 2004, more than 800 people have died in a slew of shootings and bombings in the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, where 80 percent of the population are Muslim, ethnic Malay and do not speak Thai as their first language.

    The jungle-clad region, which Pattanis say is the spiritual home of Islam in southeast Asia, was an independent Muslim sultanate until annexed by Buddhist Thailand a century ago -- and PULO says the Malays want it back.

    If Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra continues to be "stubborn", the spokesman said, PULO was prepared to take its fight to Bangkok or top tourist spots such as Phuket or Pattaya.

    "If you look at our web site, that is what it says," he said. "Thaksin is my enemy. If he carries on like he is now, it is going to get worse.

    "I would like to tell Thaksin we want back what we are supposed to have. It's not that we want to separate from you. It is merely that we want back what belongs to us."

    Both inside and outside southern Thailand, PULO had tens of thousands of members "involved in the struggle" and giving the organisation donations on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in proportion to what they could afford, the spokesman said.

    "They are prepared to die. We must have the same guts as they do in Afghanistan and Palestine," he said, although he added that PULO was not prepared to use suicide bombing. "It is not necessary to do that," he said.


    The Thai government has flooded the far south along the Malaysian border with more than 30,000 troops and police but has failed to make headway against the daily attacks, despite assurances it has the situation under control.

    In a stunning U-turn by an administration which has favoured an iron fist over reconciliation, the spokesman said the Thai government had entered secret talks with PULO from August 24-27 in Lausanne in Switzerland.

    There was no immediate comment from the government.

    "The Thais do not want people to know about this," he said.

    Wan Kadir, an ageing separatist figurehead from the 1970s and 1980s now in exile in Sweden, was not party to the talks as he was out of the picture, the spokesman said.

    "Wan Kadir doesn't really know what is going on. He has no way of controlling what is going on in the south," he said.

    Outlining the extent of the anti-Bangkok movement, he said an even larger organisation called the BRN (Barasi Revolusi Nasional) Coordinate was also involved in the separatist struggle, which has alarmed foreign governments and investors.

    He did not reveal where militants obtained their bomb-making expertise, but said some of the older members of the organisation had fought with Afghan resistance fighters against the Soviet Union in the 1970s. "It's not very hard to make bombs. It doesn't take that much training."

    Many of the victims of the insurgency have been Buddhist teachers, government officials or agricultural workers even though PULO did not target civilians, the spokesman said.

    "The people who were killed might well have been government spies. That is why those involved in the struggle killed them. But at the same time, those who have been killed might have been common people," he said.

    The PULO leadership, who have spent the last 15 years mapping out a sustained guerrilla separatist campaign, were not in Thailand, the spokesman said.

    He did not reveal their whereabouts, but Thailand has asked Malaysia repeatedly for help in cracking down on southern separatists, who it says can cross the border with ease. There have been few arrests, creating diplomatic tension between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. - Reuters

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Aku kembali

    Dengan ini diumumkan ruangan al-Ghozi | minds akan kembali aktif mengganas secara rasmi mulai hari ini.

    Buat sementara ini tiada sebarang entry atau masukkan terbaru... kerana lebih kepada pembaikpulihan dan upgrade template yang sedia ada. Komen atau cadangan membina amatlah dihargai.


    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Tiru Iraq pancung kepala

    BANGKOK 4 Julai - Lapan kejadian mayat dipancung pada bulan lepas di selatan Thailand adalah keganasan yang ditiru daripada keganasan di Iraq, kata Menteri Dalam Negeri, Chidchai Vanasathidya hari ini.

    "Kami amat bimbang mengenai kejadian ini. Maklumat perisikan kami menunjukkan ia ditiru daripada kejadian keganasan di Iraq," katanya.

    Chidchai berkata, kumpulan-kumpulan yang bertanggungjawab telah meniru keganasan di Iraq tetapi mereka tidak mempunyai kaitan dengan kumpulan militan di luar Thailand.

    Pakar-pakar antarabangsa berkata, pemberontakan di selatan Thai tidak mempunyai kaitan dengan kumpulan ekstremis antarabangsa tetapi keadaan itu mungkin berlaku jika ia tidak dibendung secepat mungkin.

    Lebih 790 orang terbunuh dan 1,200 lagi cedera sejak pemberontakan bermula Januari 2004 yang pihak berkuasa dan para penganalisis menyalahkan kumpulan-kumpulan pemisah, jenayah terancang dan kumpulan penyeludupan.

    Chidchai juga menyatakan pihak berkuasa pendidikan mungkin menutup sekolah-sekolah di perkampungan kecil dan memindahkan pelajar-pelajarnya ke sekolah di bandar. - AFP

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Thaksin rombak pegawai tinggi tentera

    BANGKOK 25 Mei - Perdana Menteri kerajaan penceroboh, Thaksin Shinawatra hari ini mengumumkan rombakan pegawai tinggi tentera di selatan Siam dan mengarahkan pendekatan lebih agresif untuk menghentikan "keganasan".

    Thaksin menyatakan, Jeneral Sirichai Thanyasiri akan dilucutkan jawatannya sebagai ketua sebuah pasukan khas yang diberi tanggungjawab untuk menghentikan kegiatan pemisah.

    Beliau akan digantikan oleh Leftenan Jeneral Kwanchart Klaharn, komander tentera bagi 14 wilayah selatan, kata Perdana Menteri.

    "Penggiliran tugas ini bertujuan untuk membawa masuk muka baru bagi menggantikan para pegawai yang sudah keletihan dan dengan itu cenderung mengambil pendirian defensif," menurut Thaksin.

    "Pegawai baru akan mengambil pendekatan lebih agresif dari segi memperbaiki hubungan dengan penduduk tempatan, di samping menangkap penyerang dan melindungi penduduk awam tidak berdosa daripada serangan," tambah beliau.

    "Mereka akan merangka pelan strategik kerana tidak ada individu yang mampu menyelesaikan masalah ini secara bersendirian."

    "Kita perlu berusaha sedaya upaya untuk mencegah penduduk tempatan daripada dibunuh. Malah penduduk Islam sendiri turut terbunuh,'' kata Thaksin. - AFP

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    Fitnah untuk mengaitkan sekolah agama kendali latihan senjata ala Al-Qaeda

    BANGKOK 20 Mei - Pelajar di sebuah sekolah agama persendirian di wilayah Pattani mengaku latihan pengendalian senjata diadakan di sekolah tersebut tetapi menafikan pembabitan mereka.

    Askar daripada Pasukan Petugas ke-22 melancarkan serbuan di sekolah Jihad Witthaya di kampung Ban Taloh Kapo, daerah Yaring semalam.

    Mereka menemui beberapa cakera padat (CD) yang menunjukkan latihan senjata ala Al-Qaeda dan beberapa dokumen tulisan Arab.

    Empat pelajar dibawa ke balai polis daerah untuk disoal siasat.

    "Beberapa pelajar mengaku latihan senjata diadakan di sekolah itu, tetapi menegaskan mereka sendiri tidak terlibat dengan kegiatan berkenaan," kata komander pasukan petugas, Kolonel Chatuporn Kalampasut.

    Askar juga merampas buku panduan yang ditulis dalam bahasa Thai mengenai cara memantau dan mengekori anggota pasukan keselamatan.

    Serbuan terhadap sekolah itu dilakukan berikutan penangkapan dua lelaki yang disyaki terlibat dengan serangan di 36 tempat di lapan daerah di Pattani pada 15 Mei lalu.

    Mama Sa-i, 32, dari daerah Panare dan Sohor Paoji, 28, dari daerah Mayo ditangkap di Pattani.

    Sebotol petrol bercampur baja urea dan secebis kain dibasahi petrol ditemui pada diri mereka.

    Pengakuan suspek berkenaan membawa kepada serbuan terhadap sekolah Jihad Witthaya.

    Chatuporn percaya sekolah itu terlibat dalam rangkaian yang mencetuskan kekacauan di selatan Thai.

    "Sekolah itu pastinya ada kaitan dengan rangkaian pemisah yang mencetuskan kekacauan di selatan.

    "Pemilik sekolah, Dulloh Waemano, 55, mengetuai rangkaian itu. Tetapi dia dapat melarikan diri. Kami mengesyaki dia bersembunyi di sebuah negara jiran," katanya. - Agensi

    Wan Kadir dibenar pulang bantu proses damai

    BANGKOK 20 Mei - Pegawai keselamatan di selatan Thailand menyambut baik cadangan supaya pemimpin pemisah Islam, Wan Kadir Che Man dibenarkan pulang ke tanah air untuk membantu proses perdamaian.

    Bagaimanapun beberapa pegawai lain berkata, Wan Kadir mungkin menempah maut jika beliau pulang kerana tindakan itu mungkin dilihat sebagai berpaling tadah.

    Beliau kini menjalani kehidupan dalam buangan di Sweden.

    Kerajaan bagaimanapun masih membisu mengenai kemungkinan Wan Kadir dibenarkan balik ke Thailand tetapi sumber rasmi menyatakan, sokongan terhadap kepulangannya dipercayai semakin meningkat.

    Timbalan komander Wilayah Polis Ke-9, Mejar Jeneral Thani Thawidsri berkata, kepulangan beliau sekurang-kurangnya akan menghantar mesej kepada masyarakat antarabangsa bahawa Thailand sedang mengusahakan perdamaian dan cuba mendapat kepercayaan umat Islam di selatan.

    ``Kami ingin melihat beliau bekerjasama dengan kerajaan bagi mewujudkan perdamaian di rantau ini,'' kata Thani.

    Bagaimanapun seorang pegawai kanan tentera di selatan Thai berkata, kepulangan Wan Kadir tidak akan menyelesaikan seluruh masalah yang sedia ada.

    Katanya, anak kelahiran Pattani itu tidak pernah mengawal puak pemisah secara langsung, termasuk ketika kemuncak pergerakan pemisah itu 20 tahun lalu.

    Ketika itu, Pertubuhan Pembebasan Bersatu Pattani (PULO) dan Barisan Revolusi Nasional bertempur dengan askar kerajaan di dalam hutan.

    Menurut pegawai itu, kini generasi baru pejuang pemisah berasal dari selatan Thai dan menjadi sebahagian penduduk tempatan.

    Memandangkan Wan Kadir telah tinggal di luar negara hampir 20 tahun, golongan muda di rantau ini tidak kenal siapa beliau.

    Beliau mungkin dilihat sebagai pengkhianat oleh golongan pemisah di luar negara atau pemisah tempatan yang mahu meneruskan kempen gerila mereka, katanya. - Agensi

    Sunday, May 08, 2005

    Tiga ditembak mati di selatan Thai

    BANGKOK 7 Mei - Tiga rakyat tempatan mati ditembak oleh puak pemisah dalam tiga kejadian berasingan di selatan Thailand, kata polis hari ini.

    Dalam kejadian hari ini, seorang penolong ketua kampung di daerah Raman, Yala, Sagareeya Pataru, 52, dilaporkan ditembak di kediamannya di Kampung Nernngarm sejurus selepas pulang menjaga sebuah sekolah.

    "Beliau disahkan mati di Hospital Yala tiga jam selepas ditembak dan anggota puak pemisah turut merampas senapangnya," kata seorang pegawai polis kepada AFP.

    Sementara itu, seorang lagi mangsa yang terkorban dua hari lepas ialah Marusata Kuesoh, iaitu sukarelawan kesihatan awam di daerah Thung Yang Daeng, Pattani.

    Mangsa ketiga yang merupakan seorang pegawai tempatan, Thawee Jaiboon, 31, turut ditembak semalam ketika dalam perjalanan ke tempat kerjanya.

    Lebih 660 orang terbunuh sejak puak pemisah memberontak di selatan Thailand sejak Januari tahun lepas. - AFP