Pattani blast during Sukampol visit to South
Defence Minister ACM Sukampol Suwannathat faced an awkward moment yesterday, when his visit to Thailand's southern Yala province to attend a briefing on the setting up of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Coordinate (BRN-C), was marred by a bomb blast in the nearby province of Pattani.The blast killed a boy and injured several others ahead of the government's plans to hold peace talks with the BRN-C, an umbrella organisation of insurgency groups in the deep South.
The blast highlighted the ongoing obstacles faced by the government and the BRN-C in reining in the violence and securing a lasting peace.
According to a security source, the BRN-C has been recruiting youngsters to train them as insurgents. The source, which has been operating in the three southern border provinces, said the BRN-C was divided into three layers of command - the ruling council, management and fighters.
According to the source, the ruling council was known as the Dewan Penilian Party, or DPP. It's secretary-general was Sapae-ing Baso and its deputy secretary-general, Asae Jehlong.
"Sapae-ing controls military affairs and fighters while Asae is in charge of political and foreign affairs," the source said.
The source added that BRN-C's management, known as DKP, was divided into seven areas - youths, fighters, Islamic affairs, economic affairs, revolutionary affairs, foreign affairs and governance.
According to the source, the third layer of the BRN-C was made up of members who planned insurgency attacks. Most of them were temporary members caught up in distorted Islamic teachings and trained to carry out jihad or "holy war". Members of the third layer of the BRN-C were divided into groups of youths and armed fighters.
The source claimed that the BRN-C had played an integral part in dispatching armed fighters to the three southern border provinces.
In Yala, six companies, or 648-armed fighters were operating there under the leadership of Usman Jeh-ubong.
In Narathiwat, there were 1,728 armed fighters operating under the leadership of Muhamadbaiyadi Waseng and in Pattani, 864-armed fighters staged attacks under the leadership of Haraning Taemamu, the source said.
Security agencies have also learned that insurgents are trained in two stages. In the first stage, they are trained to gather intelligence, and in the second stage they are taught to make bombs, guerrilla tactics and to carry out attacks.
Another security source said that a rift had developed among BRN factions in 1977, which led to the forming of the BRN-Ulama - an offshoot of the organisation. This in turn led to the forming of the BRN Congress, or BRN-C, in 1984.
The source said all BRN factions shared the same goal: to frighten Buddhists into fleeing the region.