BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): A working panel of the prospective ruling coalition will meet on Friday (June 9) to discuss ways of tackling the decades-long insurgency in the South of Thailand.
Pol Colonel Thawee Sodsong (pic), Prachachart Party secretary-general, said on Monday that the meeting may be held at the Move Forward headquarters instead of at the Foundation of the Islamic Centre of Thailand as initially planned.
Restoring peace is the key policy of the Prachachart Party, whose strongholds are in the Muslim-dominated southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The prospective Move Forward-led coalition with Prachachart and six other parties as partners have set up a power transition coordination committee. This committee later set up seven working panels, including the one tasked with overseeing peace in the South.
According to the non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch, at least 7,423 people have been killed in the southern insurgency since the robbery of firearms in 2004.
Of the deaths, 2,962 were civilians, 2,106 security forces, and 2,355 insurgents. The violence has also displaced more than 100,000 people.
The 2004 firearm robbery was a turning point in the conflict, marking the beginning of a more violent phase as insurgents began targeting security forces and civilians.
The robbery also led to the Thai government taking a heavy-handed approach, which in turn further alienated the Muslim population and prolonged the conflict.