A self-proclaim spokesman of eleven "underground" separatist groups announced a ceasefire in the three southernmost provinces, ending secessionist movement in the Malay-speaking region.
Speaking through a translator, the spokesman announced an end to all violent attacks and separatist activities in the Muslim-majority region.
He added that any armed groups resisting the order would be considered renegades and could be eliminated.
"We want to see peace and stability in the region. All forms of attacks has come to an end," the spokesman said. Names of the leaders were unknown.
All forms of attack have come to and end? Really? Read about a fresh attack here.
He said the ceasefire goes into effectively on July 14, 2008. However, the videotape was not broadcast until today at noon. The statement was aired today through Thai TV5, an Army-run station and TV 7.
Did the army give permission for this statement?
But attacks in the restive region continue unabated with police headquarters in Pattani and Yala coming under bomb attacks this past week.
Former army chief and defence minister Chetta Thanajaro claimed credit for the so-called breakthrough.
Why is General Chetta, a former army chief and minority member of the government, making announcements on his own? Shouldn't Defense Minister PM Samak be making these sorts of announcements?
Hurman Right Watch's Sunai Phasuk said Chetta may have "jumped the gun" with the announcement but added that only time will tell.
"His credibility is on the line. Besides, there has been nothing to suggest that the militants on the ground would let up with their activities," Sunai said in a telephone interview.
Indeed, General Chetta's credibility is on the line, but I don't blame him, since Samak has pretty much abrogated his responsibilities as PM and Defense Minister to a minority leader in his government.
Can you imagine a low-level general in the Bush Administration making an announcement that Al Qaeda has capitulated while terrorist bombings are still going off? Hell, Bush is incompetent, but he is not that incompetent.
General Anupong and Pulo distance themselves from this wacky cease fire(courtesy of The Nation)
The Thai Army chief and leaders of Malay Muslim separatist groups distanced themselves yesterday from an announcement by the self-proclaimed spokesman of 11 "underground" separatist groups that the 100-year-old insurgency in the troubled South had come to an end.
Kasturi Mahkota, foreign affairs chief of the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), said he was unaware of the affiliation of the three men whose videotaped statement was aired on Army-run Channel 5, during which they declared that the struggle was over.
The Nation wrote a scathing editorial about this absurdity, which, for once, I agree with something it has published.
Despite Chetta's claims, the idea of an unconditional armistice in the South belongs in the realm of fantasy
Like I said before, I don't blame General Chetta for this mess. I blame Samak. What kind of moron would allow a renegade in his coalition to go off and make major policy pronouncements and agreements in public, especially on an issue as sensitive as the South, without first making sure all the ducks were stacked in a row?
This government is hanging on by a loose thread as it is, and has little to no credibility, and now it has decided to do something make its credibility decline even further, if that was even possible.