Civil society groups have urged an end to the culture of impunity after the latest summary killing in the restive Deep South while an insurgent group condemned the killing.
Soldiers and paramilitary officers in Rueso District of Narathiwat on 29 March 2017 summarily killed Isma-ae Hama, 28, and Aseng Useng, 30.
The police and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 claimed that the two resisted arrest and exchanged gunfire with officers, adding that they were allegedly involved in a shooting on 2 March 2017 which killed four people, including an eight-year-old schoolchild.
However, Wartani, a local news website based in Pattani Province, reported that a 13 year-old sister of Isma-ae claimed that the two were unarmed when they were shot. She said the car her brother was driving was halted by officers who shot them shortly after they stepped out of the car.
Following the killing, Arthit Thongin, a lecturer at Rangsit University, said the military must get rid of the culture of impunity which protects their own people.
Anchana Heemmina, President of the Duay Jai group, said an independent investigation into the killing must be carried out, adding that the family of the dead should lodge a legal complaint against the officers responsible for the killing.
She urged civil society groups and people to continue to pressure the authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the summary killing, as in the Thung Yang Daeng killing in 2015 in which the authorities were pressured by the public into admitting the crime.
The Duay Jai group also issued a statement, urging protection for Isma-ae’s sister, who is the only civilian witness to the incident.
Kasturi Mahkota, a key leader of the Patani United Liberation Organisation (PULO), condemned the summary killing and demanded that the representatives of the Thai state at the Deep South peace talks provide justice to the families of Isma-ae and Aseng.
“We strongly condemn this atrocity and demand that the government carry out a transparent and fair investigation process, and bring the perpetrators to justice as quickly as possible,” Kasturi wrote on his Facebook page.