Men Slain in Southern Thailand Military Raid Innocent: Locals

By Nasueroh
150331-TH-deadmen-620 The bodies of four suspected insurgents are wrapped after a raid by Thai forces in Pattani province, March 25, 2015.

A fact-finding team was sent Tuesday to the site of a deadly military raid in Pattani province last week, after local residents said that four men killed in the operation were, in fact, innocent and had no connection to the Deep South insurgency.

Four people were killed and 22 others captured at Toh Sud village, in Pattani’s Tung Yang Daeng district, during a series of shootouts that lasted into the evening on March 25, security officials told BenarNews at the scene that day.

The military launched the operation based on intelligence that an armed separatist cell in Toh Sud was plotting attacks in the province, officials said.

Two of the dead were identified as students at Fatoni University. On Friday, it released a statement saying they were not members of separatist groups and had never been implicated in crimes.

Nasae Dokoh, Toh Sud village headman, said he believed that weapons seized at the time didn’t belong to the dead.

“I could not access the shootout scene for some time until the security forces cleared the area, and every single dead [person] was seen with weapon(s) by their side,” he told BenarNews.

“I believe they were innocent and the presence of weapons was suspicious,” Nasae added.


In response to the public outcry, the Internal Security Operation Command 4 (ISOC 4) has set up a 15-man fact-finding committee, which includes local civilians, Islamic clergy, government officials, police and members of the military.

The committee was scheduled to compensate families of the dead with the sum of 500,000 baht (US$15,625) each, ISOC officials said.

Prasit Meksuwan, a civil society member who is on the committee, said the mystery centered on whether the dead men had weapons and exchanged fire with security forces.

“The locals expressed an outcry about the accusation that the dead had weapons in their hands. But the probing panelists must stay by the truth, and the wrongdoers must pay the price,” Prasit said, adding that the full report would be finished by April 2.

The investigative team will talk with members of the security forces on Wednesday to get their account of the incident.

“We are genuinely committed to resolving the problems through peaceful means. When the public has a doubt, we need to launch a probe into it with transparency. We must prove what really happened, therefore we have set up a committee involving all parties,” Lt. Gen. Prakarn Cholayuth, commander of the Fourth Army Region, said Tuesday.

From March 28 to 31, there were additional shootings in all three Deep South provinces, resulting in five injuries and one death, according to police sources.


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