Barisan Revolusi Nasional Patani-Melayu




    The alleged logo of the BRN.[1]

    Status: ACTIVE
    AKA: Barisan Revolusi Nasional, BRN, National Revolutionary Front
    Formed: 1963
    Areas of Operation: Thailand; Narathiwat province, Malaysia; Langkawi Island, Kedah State
    Ideology: Nationalist (Pan-Malay, Pattani), Religious (Islamist-Sunni)
    Leader: Masae Useng
    Affiliates: Barison Nasional Pembe-Basan Pattani (BNPP), Dewan Pembebasan Pattani (DPP), Gerakan Mujahideen Islam Patani (Pattani Islamic Mujahideen Movement, GMIP), National Liberation Youth Group (Pemuda), Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO), South Warriors of Valays (SWV)

    Organizational History

    The Barisan Revolusi Nasional Patani-Melayu’s (BRN) aim is the establishment of an autonomous, Muslim-state. Since the group’s founding, it has expressed a pan-Malay, Pattani nationalist stance, which is best described as Islamic socialism. The group is also avowedly anti-colonialist, and anti-capitalist. Considering the predominant emphasis given to Islam in the south of Thailand, the group plays to the orthodox Islamic tendencies of some segments of the populace.

    Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Pattani (BRN) was formed in March 1963, making it one of the oldest terrorist groups currently active in Thailand. The group was formed at an Islamic school called Munlanithi Thammawitthaya in Yala Province. A political, relatively non-violent stance was adopted by the BRN for the first several years. However, in 1968 a military wing was formed, modeled after the Indonesian armed forces. The BRN conducted an insurgent campaign in southern Thailand that lasted for many years before a brief period of peace was reached in the region with a number of government concessions, including allowing Malays to occupy top government positions in the area. After 1986, the BRN shifted its focus from jungle guerrilla warfare to urban guerrilla warfare. This was a big reason why Thai government threat assessments were unreliable and urban elements of the BRN were able to operate unhindered.

    Group members are believed to be at least partly responsible for the triggering event that led to the most current sustained violence in the area. In January 2004, a group of terrorists raided an army camp and escaped with a number of weapons, causing a flare up in attacks that has not ceased.[2] BRN is believed to comprise the organizational center of an insurgency which represents a serious threat to the Thai state.


    The BRN’s structure reflects a mix of the old and new; like many insurgent groups, the BRN has a hierarchical, paramilitary structure composed of three sections: (1) the congress, (2) the coordinate, and (3) the Ulema, which work with affiliated Islamic clergy. The group also has cellular elements. The new generation of Pattani militants/fighters responsible for much of the violence occurring in southern Thailand often do not separate themselves from one group or another; rather, they will often claim that they are part of a larger separatist front .[3] 

    The South Warriors of Valaya (SWV) is a suspected cell within the BRN that hopes to split Pattani from the rest of Thailand. The relatively new group allegedly perpetrated the bombing incidents that hit southern Thailand beginning on Pattani Day, June 15, 2006.


    BRN is in possession of a number of Thai military weapons; the government believes this group played a major role in planning and executing an arms robbery at a military camp in Cho Ai Rong district, Narathiwat Province in January 2004.


    The BRN receives financial support from overseas sources and from local sources, both legal and illegal.  Past BRN funds have come from local football matches where the group is known to charge a membership fee of one baht a day. 


    Recruitment occurs primarily in pondoks, a network of traditional educational institutions dedicated to Islamic learning and Malay identity. Youths are also recruited by monetary incentives; the BRN will pay youths to commit some incidents.


    Documents uncovered during police operations have revealed the “Seven Steps to Establish an all-Muslim Pattani State”; the seven steps are (1) stirring up mass conscience, (2) mass rallies, (3) establishing an organization, (4) forming a military, (5) evoking nationalism, (6) preparing the military, and (7) military power. To this end, the BRN is actively pursuing not only its own terrorist campaign but also the establishment of a larger force that transcends all other groups, combining youth organizations, mujahideen, and freedom fighters into a Pattani army. The most troubling trend noted by security forces concerning BRN tactics is the use of secondary explosives at incident locations to harm first responders; after an explosion in one location, responding teams have been targeted by additional bombs, or in some cases have found other devices that were ready to explode.



    Authorities search a cemetery for weapons after they arrested seven BRN militants including the personal aide of leader Masae Useng.[4] 


    rail bomb.jpg

    Police examine the site of a BRN bombing that occurred on July 27, 2011 in the Rangae District of Narathiwat Province, Thailand.[5]

    car bomb.jpg

    The result of a car bombing by suspected BRN militants that occurred on July 7, 2009 in Yala, Thailand.[6]


    1. Maarif, P. FINDING THE TRUTH BEHIND THE PEACE ACCORD BETWEEN BRN AND REGION FOUR ARMY. (2011, December 7). Patani Special. Retrieved from [1] on December 7, 2011.
    2. HIS Jane’s. (2007, April 27). Barisan Revolusi Nasional Patani-Melayu (BRN) (Thailand), Groups – Asia – Active. Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism.
    3. 7 Southern Insurgent Suspects Arrested in Narathiwas Raid. (2007, July 3). Tan Network. Retrieved from [2] on December 7, 2011.
    4. Rebel sentenced to life in jail. (2011, July 28). Pattaya Today. Retrieved from [3] on December 7, 2011.
    5. Thai soldiers secure the area at the scene of a bomb blast. (2007, July 7). Military Photos.Net. Retrieved from [4] on December 7, 2011.

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