PETALING JAYA: Rebels from southern Thailand and the Thai government will resume their peace talks here next month even as a series of violence has continued to rock the area.

Representatives from both sides will meet on March 7 at a hotel here to find ways to end the decades-old insurgency.

Last month, bombers set off at least 13 blasts in a town in southern Thailand while police killed two suspected insurgents in a raid after a 20-hour siege in a nearby province.

The siege reportedly took place in Narathiwat province where a combined force of soldiers and police surrounded a house, following a tip-off that the suspects linked to bomb attacks last year were hiding inside.

The rebels and Thai government representatives had last met here in January in an eight-hour physical meeting after not being able to do so for nearly two years. It was conducted online then because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both sides discussed a three-point plan, which included a reduction in violence as a basis for further talks to end the fighting led by the powerful Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).

The BRN is a heavily armed group operating in four provinces, namely Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla, which make up Thailand’s Deep South.

The BRN is also known as the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani and was founded by one Haji Abdul Karim in 1963.

The population in these provinces near the Malaysian border is predominantly Muslim Malays.

The facilitator for the talks is former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, who represents the Malaysian government.

He has confirmed that the meeting will be held at a hotel in Petaling Jaya on March 7, but declined to elaborate.

Rahim had said in January that meetings had progressed “very well’’ but declined to provide details.

The negotiations involved representatives of the Thai government with chief negotiator Gen Wanlop Rugsanaoh and the BRN led by Anas Abdulrahman @ Hipni Mareh.

Also present were representatives from the Thai national security council as well as the Thai Attorney General Office.

The relentless cycle of violence in southern Thailand began in 2004 and has reportedly claimed at least 7,000 lives and injured 13,500 to date. In May 2021, Thai security forces were reportedly in a three-hour standoff with two separatist insurgents in a small remote village in Yala.