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BRN representative goes missing after video clip

HASSAN TAIB, who represented the insurgents in peace dialogues with Thai authorities to resolve the unrest in the deep South, has reportedly gone missing since he appeared in a video clip on YouTube early last month. Taib's friends confirm that he has been out of contact for a while.

It is believed that Taib, an exiled figure who called himself a "liaison officer" for Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Coordinate (BRN-C), might have been dismissed from the job and be keeping a low profile at the order of the Dewan Penilian Party (DPP) council, which oversees the BRN-C.

A source in the Thai National Security Council, however, said Taib might have been detained by Malaysian authorities, though this claim has not been confirmed by Malaysia.

In a recent interview with The Nation, a source close to Taib confirmed that he had been missing but insisted that he had not been arrested or detained by Malaysian authorities. "We met Ustaz Hassan Taib in late November. He was scheduled to discuss the reply to the Thai government's response to BRN's request in early December, and then reportedly decided not to do so. And we have not heard from him since."

In a YouTube video clip released on December 1, Taib is seen saying that the peace dialogue would only proceed if the Thai government approved the BRN's five-point demand and the House of Representatives turned the peace dialogue with BRN into a national agenda.

In the clip, Taib referred to himself as a former leader of the separatist team in the dialogue with Thai government - which suggested either that he was replaced or the talks had been cancelled.

The source said Malaysian authorities could not have detained Taib because he had good relations with them. Malaysian officials have also apparently told the source that Taib was not detained, and suggested that he might be under the custody of BRN, possibly the DPP.

The two sides entered a historic "agreement" on February 28 last year in Kuala Lumpur, with Taib representing the separatist side and National Security Council chief Paradon Pattanatabut representing Thai government.


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