Takbai Tragedy: The world needs to know ”

Arfan Wattana's picture
This 25th October will be the 12th anniversary of the Takbai tragedy, an incidence that is deeply felt by many of the Patani people, not only the relatives of the victims. Many people from Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, and Songkhla went to demonstrate in front of a police station in Takbai district, Narathiwat province which borders Malaysia. People were protesting the arrest of six, individuals who had been accused of  stealing weapons from the military. The protesters believed that those six people were wrongly accused by the police.
The Thai authority responded to the protesters with violence and led to 85 deaths. 78 of those deaths occurred inside a military truck. Many of the protesters were arrested and were transported by military truck from the police station of Takbai district in Narathiwat province to Ingkhayuthaborihan military camp in Pattani province, a journey of about 2 hours in inhumane conditions. When they arrived, it was found that some of the men had died.  
On 29th May 2009, the Songkhla provincial court ruled that the 78 people, who died in the military truck during transportation, died due to asphyxiation. In spite of the fact that most people know who should be held responsible for the Takbai tragedy, the perpetrators are still at large.
The Takbai incident was one of the turning points in the history of Patani. Every 25th October of each year we organise an event to remember our heroes, who used non-violence to fight against injustice. Unfortunately, their actions were met with violence. Consequently, some people have changed their strategy in the fight with the Thai government and have instead joined underground groups such as BRN. By contrast, the number of the new generation are choosing  peaceful resistance and their number is increasing such as CSOs and NGOs. This group uses political means to achieve their Political will which is Peace in Patani.
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Arfan Wattana
Vice of Foreign Affairs of Patani Institute