Positive developments in three high-profile crime cases
There were interesting developments regarding three high-profile security-related crime cases in the restive deep South in the third week of November.
In the first case which was widely known as the Pileng ll incident, a band of militants stormed an army outpost of the 15121th infantry company in Ban Maruebo, Tambon Maruebotok, Ra-nage district of Narathiwat on January 19, 2011, killing for soldiers and capturing over a dozen of assault rifles. Later on, security forces arrested 16 suspects and recovered several of the seized weapons. All were charged and tried in the province. One of the suspects, Saburahum Putaning, 32, died while in custody and two others, Safvan Salae and Hafisin Watabue-ngae, jumped bail and are still at large.
On November 21, the Narathiwat provincial court delivered a verdict on this case as follows: Yaya Bueraheng, 23, was condemned to death; Usman Yatae,24, was given life imprisonment; Matoha She, 27, Areeya Masae, 40 and Arbus Luetae, 25, were each sentenced to 36 years jailterm.
Eight other defendants were acquitted. They were Mumad Napee Bula, 31; Isma-ae Kalo, 23; Amran Sama-ae,23; Ruslam Seema-ah, 36; Mahama Saro, 24; Mathaha Yasee-ngor, 27; Abdulloh Jehdolor, 42; Sanusee Yatae, 29. However, Sanusee was sentenced to six years imprisonment on another case for illegal possession of firearms.
The second case was about two executives of Islam Burapha school or Ponor Sapom in Muang district of Narathiwat who were charged with providing shelter to suspected militants to commit criminal activities, including making bombs. Security forces raided the school on July 2, 2007 and uncovered many bomb-making equipments. Seven suspects were arrested in the school compound and were tried in a separate case in which a verdict was delivered on March 16 this year.
In that case, four of them were sentenced to death on charges of terrorism and criminal association while the fifth was given 27 years jailterm. One defendant, Mamakoiree Lueman, jumped bail and fled to Malaysia where he was later arrested with explosive device and tried in Kelantan state of Malaysia. He was however acquitted by the court in May this year.
After the raid, the Burapha school was ordered shut down three days afterward and the two school executives, Useng Purong, the school licence holder, and Ms Subaida Doloh, the school headmistress, were arrested and tried.
But on November 19, the Narathiwat provincial court issued a verdict declaring them innocent and acquitting them.
As for the school, it was closed for four years until December 26, 2011, when it was reopened at the order of Pol Col Thawee Sodsong, secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre. However, the problem with the school is not over. On August 28 this year, the Anti-Money Laundering Office froze the assets of the school estimated at about three million baht pending an investigation regarding its alleged connection with militant gangs.
The third case concerns the fatal shooting of Mr Abdullateh Tohday, the imam of Ban U-beng masjid in Tambon Patae, Yaha district of Yala on November 14 as he was driving a pick-up truck on the road between Yaha and Sabayoi district of Songkhla. The imam’s murder has a lot of concern among the locals about their safety and the effectiveness of the security forces in providing safety as the victim was seen as a government’s supporter. The victim was in September named a member of a panel investigating the fatal shooting incident in Krong Penang district of Yala on April 19 this year in which five Muslims were killed by security forces as they were travelling in a pick-up truck on their way to a funeral.
SBPAC secretary-general Thawee Sodsong recently ordered the setup of a 19-man panel to probe the killing of the imam. The panel is headed by the chairman of the Yala provincial Islamic committee and comprises representatives from the police, the Internal Security Operations Command, the provincial administration and civic groups such as the Muslim Attorney Centre Foundation and the Cross Culture Foundation.
Caption : The army outpost of the 15121th infantry in Narathiwat