Government Forces in Southern Thailand Killed Four Innocent Men, Panel Finds

By Nasueroh
TH-pattani-committee-620 Waedueramae Mamingji, chairman of the Pattani Islamic Committee, briefs reporters in Pattani, April 7, 2015.

Four men killed by security forces during a raid on a village in Thailand’s Pattani province last month were not insurgents or linked to a regional separatist rebellion, a military-appointed fact-finding committee said Tuesday in announcing its results.

The 15-member panel recommended that seven security force members who shot dead the men during the March 25 raid on Baan Toh Sud be prosecuted and that families of the four be compensated financially, committee representatives told a news conference in Pattani town.

“The committee agreed that the four were not militants, nor the supporters of the insurgents,” Waedueramae Mamingji, a cleric who chairs the Pattani Islamic Conference and who sat on the committee, told reporters.

Security forces were acting on intelligence that insurgents were in the area, they said at the time.

The military operation was lawful, the panel found, but it remained unclear whether the four men were armed or whether they traded shots with government forces, as initially stated by military sources.

Forensic tests would be needed to determine whether the four left fingerprints on weapons recovered from the scene and whether gunpowder traces were on their hands, Waedueramae said.

On Tuesday, Police Major Gen. Krisakorn Pleetunyawong, the provincial police chief, said that his office had summoned the seven security personnel, who allegedly killed the men, to turn themselves in. He said he expected them to surrender next week.

The Bangkok Post identified the four slain men as Suhaimee Seniae, 32, Kholid Samaeng, 24, Madaree Maeroh, 23, and Saddam Wanu, 23. The three younger men were university students in the region, according to the Post.

General issues apology

Meanwhile, Gen. Prakarn Cholayuth, who commands the 4th Army Region and who appointed the fact-finding committee, apologized for the killings of the four men, who were initially described as suspected insurgents.

A source who observed the fact-finding panel’s discussions told BenarNews that erroneous intelligence may have led to the village being wrongly targeted in the raid.

“As the commander of the Internal Security Operations Command 4, I apologize for what happened,” Prakarn said. “I apologize to the citizens and the families of the dead, and I admit responsibility for this mishap.”

On Tuesday, each of the families received 500,000 baht (USD $15,625) in compensation.

Sagareeya Samaeng, the father of one of the men, said he was satisfied with the results of the committee’s probe into the events at Baan Toh Sud on March 25.

“Today I feel good because the investigation’s findings absolved him from the accusation. He is not guilty. I leave the further proceeding to the public attorney,” Sagareeya told BenarNews.


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