Small sums will be given to killed insurgents' families: SBPAC
The families of the 16 insurgents killed in a military ambush in Narathiwat early on Wednesday will not be entitled to any large compensations like the sort granted to people affected by political violence, the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) announced yesterday.This statement was issued to counter a remark made by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung.
Deputy SBPAC director Lertkiat Wongphophan said only small sums for funeral expenses were paid to the insurgents' families and Bt5,000 was given to the owner of each of the eight homes that were damaged by bullets during the gunfight. He said the conditions for compensation of between Bt3 million and Bt7.5 million is only applicable to victims of insurgency, mistreatment by officials or red-shirt protestors, not insurgents.
An SBPAC investigation into the ambush at a Marine base in Bacho district and the deaths of 16 insurgents is underway as per normal.
Chalerm was quick to respond to heavy criticism, including messages posted on social media, saying that people misunderstood him when he used the word "compensation". He said people could be compensated via other means, not just cash. He said on Wednesday that the families of insurgents should be compensated given their innocence and lack of knowledge of their relatives' involvement in the insurgency.
"Anybody who thinks that paying money is the only way of compensating is wrong," he added.
The families of three insurgents - Masakree Sasa, Saudi Ali and Hasem Bueraheng - yesterday called for assistance from the authorities in press interviews. Hasem's wife said she only earned Bt100 per day as a contract worker and without her husband's support it would be difficult for her to raise their three daughters. The families of Masakree and Saudi said both men had been missing for a long while.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana later used the term "humanitarian" for the assistance that will be extended to the families of the dead insurgents.
"Helping their families doesn’t mean helping the wrongdoers," he said.
Asked if this move would go against public sentiment, Phongthep said: "An understanding will be made with the public over the issue."
Meanwhile, a 17th body was found yesterday and later identified to be that of insurgent Abdulloh Mootor, a resident in Pattani's Sai Buri district, news reports said. However, no details were provided on where the body was discovered.
Also yesterday, police said they apprehended Useng Tohyo, a resident in Pattani's Yarang district. Useng, who faces 11 arrest warrants, is now under military custody in Yala province.
Forensic scientist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand said DNA results showed that the five unidentified bodies showed they had taken part in several previous attacks. She added that another week will be needed for the DNA identification and collection of the 16 corpses.