13 Students and the Owner of Patani Islamic Boarding Schools (Pondok) detained by Thai Military

PATTANI – Thai military ransacked  “Al-Falah” An Islamic  boarding school or Pondok in Mayo district, Pattani province, on Sunday night, 01/27/2019. 13 Students and the owner of the school were arrested on charges of training militants.

The operation under the commander of Lieutenant Colonel Somkid Kongkhong, Rangers 42 Division, Pattani who deployed a hundred troops joined the police administration department and forensic sets of more than 30 people to verify the boarding school, he claimed there was information that there were a group of 5-6 young men practicing physical like military tactics.

After that, Thai military carried out an overall inspection that area. 39 students (Santri) and the owner (Kiai) of school were escorted and carried out cellphone checks with 6 SIM cards along with personal belongings. Then DNA / fingerprints were collected for the suspected students on Monday (1/28/2019).

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Meanwhile, 13 students and the owner were detained at ‘Ingkhayut’ Military Headquarters. There is Saudi Lomeng (50) the owner, and the students are Aliyas Deoraso (19), Sufian Je’ma (23), Muhammad Amri Makyeng (19), Makpoksu Khareng (40), Abdullah Sameng (18), Haris Misa (23), Yahya Dueramea (18), Thalit Waehama (21), Ahamad Cek Daud (36), Burhanuddin Lateh (22), Ramli Sameng (35) and Bukhari Cekmak (19).

According to Lieutenant Somkid claimed that he was told by the villagers that there was information about  the physical training carried out by the students in Pondok. After being surrounded, 13 children of Cambodian students were found, their passports expired and some people did not have passports, Somkid said all students were investigated at the Ingkhayut Camp Center and including the owner ‘KH. Saudi Lomeng ‘

While Nyai Asdilah Salamea, a wife KH. Saudi owner of the school “Al-Falah” said Pondok had no incitement. Do not practice what is done like military training, but the students usually exercise nightly based on the word Asdilah pondok only teaches the knowledge of religion.

Then she told what happened in the night of the operation. Around 10:30 p.m., after finished teaching. It was a relaxing and resting time for the students. There were some people studying, someone had dinner, someone played, then a military car came and told to raid Pondok with military ranger troops and full of weapons entering and checking every room of the students.

“He called all 11 Cambodian students. Some people find that their passports expire. Some people don’t expire. And invited teacher (Babo or Kiai) to be investigated and he emphasized that physical training was not true. But accepting Cambodian students, and their passport expired were true. “said Nyai Asdilah

‘Al-Falah’ has been built since 2003, there are 7 rai (unit of area), including  Islamic boarding schools as traditional institutions that teach the Yellow Book (Kitab Kuning) and religious studies. There were only 50 male students from other places such as Bannang Sata, Betong, Yaring, and Mayo and there were  also the students from Cambodia.

Nyai Asdilah explained that the activities of this Islamic boarding school in a day could not be separated from religion studying, “Every day from waking up and after Fajr they will read Alquran and start studying Kitab until 7:30 a.m., rest time until 9:30 a.m., then studying Kitab until 11:00 a.m. In the afternoon, after Zuhur they learn Kitab again at 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. After Azri as a break for the santri until 19.30 p.m. after Maghrib and Isha, they will learn Kitab at 9:00 p.m.to 10: 00 p.m. Every day, after studying the students allowed  to relax and play. ” Clarify Nyai Asdilah.

Phobia of Islamic Boarding Schools (Pondok) in Patani

According to Abdul Aziz  yanya, President of the Association of Islamic Boarding Schools in 5 southern border provinces of Thailand, said that the students did not carry out military training as claimed by Thai military, but their children’s play played martial arts such as Silat. And in fact there is no weapon.

“I affirm this Pondok does not incite training of militants as it is accused, while the students from Cambodia whose passports expire are required to proceed according to the law. After this, Kiai of Pondok will be called to be investigated and discussing the procedures for admitting students from abroad. The students must pass their passports and must be careful about this  because they were feared if they violated the law especially the problem armed conflict area, “said Abud Aziz.

While Khaliyoh Ha’li, Head of Thailand Southern Border Province Women’s Volunteer, said that the students who live in Pondok in Patani, southern Thailand, is often accused by Thai government of being a place of incitement by Patani fighters, but the government was said it must be awakened with the right understanding, the impact arose for Muslims Patani feel dissatisfaction and increasingly lack of trust to Thai government in indiscriminate accusations.

She said we should have strong criticisms to the Pondok siege operation, and the villagers were increasingly dissatisfied to Thai authorities and government who carried out impunity and arbitrariness by exploring the institution at night without notifying to the owner.

The operation arrested the students who was relaxing during a break from studying, said Khaliyoh. The operation was intimidated by using firearms. Whereas they are only students.

“The military  carried out outrageously towards to the santri, and forced to lay down with the land and tied their hands like prisoners, even though they were only students, the military should not violate human rights by using intimidation,” Khaliyoh said.

Many times Podok or Islamic boarding schools in Patani, Southern Thailand are targeted by military operations with siege and raiding, which are always accused of being institution and warehouses of militant fighters to liberate Patani, like the case in 2016, Pondok Jihad Wittaya Taqaddam was ordered to close because it was accused of being Patani rebels.

For Melayu Muslim Patani community or the southern border of Thailand, they consider the Islamic boarding school as a strong basic institution in maintaining religious, linguistic and cultural education that has given the highest value to students from Ulama, teachers who educate from generation to generation. Most Muslims children in Patani  must pass and study at Pondok or Islamic boarding schools.

Translated by Ibnee Hamzah

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