thaicables – It's Your Right to know the Truth!

09BANGKOK1508 SOUTHERN VIOLENCE: RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE JUNE 8 MOSQUE ATTACK AND A VICIOUS CYCLE OF REPRISALS

leave a comment »

“213699”,”6/24/2009 10:08″,”09BANGKOK1508″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”SECRET”,

 

“09BANGKOK1167|09BANGKOK1271|09BANGKOK1320|09BANGKOK1388”,

 

“VZCZCXRO7674

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #1508/01 1751008

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

O 241008Z JUN 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7338

INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7202

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 9778

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5587

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1710

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0015

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 6746”,

 

“S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 001508

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/22/2029

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PINR, PREL, PTER, TH

SUBJECT: SOUTHERN VIOLENCE: RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE JUNE 8

MOSQUE ATTACK AND A VICIOUS CYCLE OF REPRISALS

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 1388 (TWELVE KILLED IN MOSQUE ATTACK)

B. BANGKOK 1320 (TAK BAI DEATHS)

C. BANGKOK 1271 (TARGETED KILLINGS)

D. BANGKOK 1167 (LOCAL OFFICIALS VIEWS)

 

BANGKOK 00001508 001.2 OF 003

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, REASON 1.4 (B, D)

 

1. (S) Summary: The cycle of violence and reprisals in

southern Thailand continues to spike in the aftermath of the

May 29 Tak Bai post mortem inquest ruling which determined

that security forces were merely performing their duties

according to their responsibilities when 78 Malay Muslims

died in their custody while being transported from Tak Bai to

a detention facility in Pattani in 2004. The June 2 killing

of two Buddhist teachers, including an eight months pregnant

woman, and June 7 killing of a Buddhist rubber tapper by

insurgents led directly to the June 8 massacre at a nearby

mosque that left 11 dead, including the imam, and 12 injured.

Several embassy contacts claim that the gunmen involved in

the mosque reprisal were associated with a volunteer defense

organization formed and armed by a deputy Royal Aide-de Camp

of Queen Sirikit. Insurgents reacted with particularly

brutal fury in the two weeks after the mosque attack,

targeting teachers, rubber tappers, Buddhist monks, and

commuter buses with bombings and beheadings. Local

authorities in Narathiwat and national leaders in Bangkok are

aware of the identities of the perpetrators of the June 8

attack, according to our contacts. Meanwhile, Thai

authorities are attempting to address the spike in violence

by pledging more development assistance, more volunteer

security forces, and consideration of a special

administrative structure to govern the Deep South.

 

2. (S) Comment: The link between those who participated in

the mosque attack and a figure associated with the Queen,

even absent any indication the mosque attack was ordered from

above, greatly complicates efforts to investigate and punish

the perpetrators and will further rile the waters in

so-called \”red zones\” sympathetic to the insurgency. To

date, the conflict in the South has not taken on the

character of sectarian violence, with most of the victims

local Malay Muslims attacked by the (Malay Muslim)

insurgents; but the mosque attack and a lack of a clear RTG

effort to pursue justice could give the insurgents additional

traction in the wake of the Tak Bai ruling. The June 8

mosque attack is the latest in a string of killings of imams

suspected of links to the insurgency in recent years (ref C)

that have outraged local communities and fed a sense of lack

of justice.

 

3. (C) Comment, cont: The brutality of violence of the past

three weeks likely surpasses any since the 2004 Tak Bai

incident itself. We have seen no evidence that proposed

budget increases for economic development in the South will

quell the violence, or that more volunteer security forces

will do anything but possibly fuel the violence. Although

Prime Minister Abhisit\’s June 14 comments that the government

supports a new administrative structure for governing

southern Thailand are welcome, the challenges of

implementation and overcoming resistance by the military to

significant civilianization of the central government

approach remain. End Summary and Comment.

 

Brutal cycle of reprisal attacks, Mosque in middle

——————————————— —–

 

4. (C) According to press sources, some 40 people have been

killed and at least 100 injured in southern Thailand since

May 29, when a Songkhla Court declined to assign

responsibility for the deaths of 78 Malay Muslims who died

while being transported to a military detention facility in

Pattani in 2004, the so-called Tak Bai incident (ref B).

According to XXXXXXX, a long-time embassy contact on

southern Thailand, the court ruling gave Malay extremists in

southern Thailand a boost in support, initiated the recent

spike in insurgency related violence, and lead in turn to

\”tit for tat\” reprisals.

 

BANGKOK 00001508 002.2 OF 003

 

5. (C) Most media attention has focused on the June 8

al-Furqon Mosque killings, when a group of masked gunmen

allegedly armed with shotguns and M-16s sprayed the praying

congregation at the al-Furqon Mosque, killing the imam and 10

others, and wounding 12 (ref A). Sources suggest two

triggers of insurgents-on-Buddhists violence in nearby

districts in the previous week: on June 2, insurgents killed

two Buddhist school teachers, one eight months pregnant, in

Rangae district, Narathiwat, while on their way home from

school; on June 7, militants killed and mutilated Buddhist

Thai rubber tapper Chuaj Nadee in the nearby village of Ba

Pae the day prior to the mosque attack. Chuaj\’s slaying was

meant as a trap for responding security forces, according to

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX though a planted bomb

intended to kill the responders failed to detonate.

 

6. (S) Chuaj\’s outraged cousin, an ex-tahaan praan

(para-military rangers who serve under commissioned army

officers), allegedly gathered several of his fellow ex-tahaan

praan friends now serving in Rengae district\’s volunteer

defense force (called Or-Ror-Bor in Thai for the acronym for

\”Volunteer Citizens for Village Safety Protection\”) to attack

the mosque the next day in revenge for Chuaj\’s death,

according to XXXXXX, who has excellent contacts in both

security forces and the insurgents; XXXXXXXXXXX told us his

sources indicate five people participated in the attack. The

al-Furqon mosque\’s imam was a known insurgent leader, with

some army intel sources claiming he had actually participated

in killings, according to XXXXXX, and many of those who

attended prayers were suspected to be associated with the

insurgents – leading Chuaj\’s cousin and friends to target the

mosque.

 

Potentially explosive royal connection

————————————–

 

7. (S) The \”Or-Ror-Bor\” connection of several of the mosque

gunmen is deeply unsettling to those in the know, according

to a range of contacts, because the project\’s sponsor is GEN

Naphon Boontap, Deputy Royal Aide-de-Camp, who has armed

village self defense groups in the south with shotguns under

the patronage of the Queen. There is no indication the

gunmen acted on instructions or informed anyone before

attacking the mosque, but the connection to Naphon and

indirectly to the Queen makes any effort to bring the

perpetrators to justice complicated. Both XXXXXXX and

XXXX suggested that the June 8 mosque incident was likely

not the first time \”Or-Ror-Bor\” personnel have been involved

in killings in the deep south of insurgent-linked figures;

we had heard similar rumors to this effect since late 2008,

but without the specificity which has now emerged.

 

8. (S) Among officials working in the deep south to improve

the situation and very concerned in the aftermath of the

mosque attack, given the identity and association of the

suspected assailants, are civil-military affairs coordinator

MGEN Chalong and Grisada Boonrach, Vice Governor for security

affairs in Yala province. Grisada told us June 18 that Army

Chief Anupong Paochinda and Prime Minister Abhisit have been

fully briefed on the information.

 

9. (S) Both Grisada and XXXXX indicated that local residents

in the area were well aware of who the perpetrators were;

XXXX said that security forces contacts showed him insurgent

pamphlets collected in the wake of a subsequent bombing of a

commuter bus which specifically mentioned the Or-Ror-Bor

connection and their protection by the Queen, though this

information has not been shared with the media. For his

part, Grisada told us that he is concerned about the impact

the mosque attack and the aftermath will have on his own

efforts to reduce the violence in Yala through community

development work (ref D).

 

Bangkok responds with misdirects, bromides, and a proposal

——————————————— ————-

 

10. (S) The RTG\’s initial declaration that the killings were

perpetrated by the insurgents was, according to XXXX and

 

BANGKOK 00001508 003.2 OF 003

 

XXXX, nonsense — Cho-ai Rong is a very red district, with

almost everyone being sympathetic to the militants\’ cause,

and insurgents averse to attacking a mosque frequented by

insurgent supporters during prayers. Comments about

\”outsiders\” playing a role were likely designed to deflect

attention to a possible link to the Queen-sponsored project,

suggested XXXX.

 

11. (C) GEN Anupong, PM Abhisit, DPM Suthep, and a series of

other RTG officials traveled to the deep south in the week

following the mosque attack, amidst gruesome insurgent

attacks on non-security forces, including a rubber tapper who

was beheaded, his head impaled on a spike, his body quartered

and burned. One insurgent leaflet left at the site of the

commuter bus bombing read: \”You attack our innocents, we

attack yours.\” Public officials in Bangkok appear to be

approaching the deteriorating security situation with their

usual mix of rhetoric, pledges of development assistance, and

increased security. In statements to the press, PM Abhisit

said his government\’s strategy was rooted in the belief that

the key to peace is justice and economic opportunity; Deputy

Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government would

spend 54 billion baht ($1.58 billion) in the south for

economic development. Government Spokesman Panitan

Wattanayaorn said the RTG would send another 1,440 \”security

volunteers\” to the South to help maintain order.

 

12. (SBU) Separately, in a bid to reduce the tension in the

South and to respond to criticism that his government has

been ineffective in dealing with the violence, Abhisit said

during his June 14 weekly television broadcast that his

government was investigating the possibility of turning the

violence-gripped provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani

into a special administrative zone. He said any new

administrative framework had to be in line with the

constitution, and that this should not be confused with

self-rule. Abhisit vowed that his government would not

negotiate with the insurgents, and claimed that the

insurgents were attempting to internationalize the issue. He

again stressed the need for justice, and said his

government\’s strategy would focus on economic development of

the Deep South. On the issue of who was behind the June 8

mosque attack, Abhisit made a neat side-step: if any one

connected to security forces were to be implicated, such acts

were not the policy of nor condoned by the government.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

Posted in Secret, South Thailand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: