The family of a fugitive insurgent suspect plans to appeal a court ruling that their school and land be seized based on confessions that the facility had been used to conduct weapons training for militants.
Doonloh Wae-mano, the school’s former headmaster, fled to neighboring Malaysia 10 years ago when officials suspected that the school conducted weapons training for young insurgents. He was also the deputy leader of a military training unit for the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the most active separatist group in Thailand’s Muslim-majority Deep South region.
Yawahee Wae-mano, wife of the fugitive, told BenarNews about her plan to challenge the court ruling.
She said it was unfair because her husband never owned the seized land. It had belonged to her father who started the school in 1968 to educate poor Muslims in the area. He transferred the land rights to his children as he aged.
Following their marriage, her husband served as headmaster and oversaw school activities, she said.
“Now that my father has passed away, the land should pass on to the rightful heirs. These are, namely, myself, Faridah Jehma, Hameeya Salehman, Adernan Jehasae and AbDoonloh Jehasae, all of whom are sisters and brothers and whose names are listed on the title deed for the land,” she said. Her husband has no claim.
“I still have more than 20 days to file an appeal. Now I am consulting with my fellow family members to decide what we should do next,” she added.
On Dec. 15, the court ordered that a deed for more than 5.5 acres of land be voided and the property reverted to state ownership. The court ruled that the school had been active in the anti-government unrest since early 2004 and cited the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1999, which stipulates that property used to support terrorism be returned to the state.
After the verdict, the court referred the case back to the public prosecutor’s office for consideration as required under the law.
“After such a ruling, there is likely to be a backlash from insurgents. I expect they are planning some violent reprisals as a response. For this reason, security forces in the southern provinces should be on high alert at this time,” a source in a local state intelligence unit told BenarNews.
The complaint filed by the public prosecutor in 2013 claimed that two men arrested in 2004 who confessed to being BRN commandos said they were sent to the school for military training as part of Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) cells.
The pair also identified Ismaair “Ji-Ae” Maseng as a training supervisor and Wae-mano, also known as “Pohsuloh,” as the school headmaster.
Banyan Wae-mano, a son, said: “Before this happened, I always sat and wondered what I would do if they really did seize our land. Since I got the news two days ago, I haven’t been able to sleep.
“I feel sorry for my maternal grandmother,” Banyan Wae-mano said. “She fell sick as soon as she heard the news.”
Charges filed against 36 in network
On March 16, sources in the Thai intelligence community revealed to BenarNews that Wae-mano, 60, was the deputy leader of the BRN’s military training branch known as the Dewan Pimpinan Parti (DPP).
At that time, he was known to be living in exile in Kelantan, the Malaysian state that borders the southern Thai province of Narathiwat. He fled Thailand in May 2005, after government forces surrounded the Jihad Witaya School and closed it down.
He continued to maintain operational control over active separatist units in the area that struck at economic targets in the region, the source said at that time.
Between March 4, 2004 and March 4, 2008, the state filed charges of instigating unrest against Wae-mano and 35 members of his network. The public prosecutor forwarded all cases to Pattani Provincial Court, where they are under consideration.
In addition, the Department of Special Investigations has charged Wae-mano and 10 others with conspiracy to stage a rebellion for incidents that took place in Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani from Jan. 4, 2004, to Jan. 30, 2006.