"It is highly likely that the internal security act could be invoked in wider areas than five districts of three southern border provinces now under the emergency decree as the situation has somewhat eased to a certain level," Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr said.
He added that the decision will be made on March 19 when the current emergency decree expires. Security redeployment to replace soldiers in the areas will have to be considered before invoking the ISA.
The executive decree on emergency situations has been imposed in the region since July 2005 and has been renewed periodically ever since. The decree gives state authorities special powers including the authority to detain any suspect without charges for up to 30 days.
The NSC chief made the announcement to reporters after discussions with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as well as key ministers and security agencies. He quoted the premier as saying it was necessary that development and justice must go together in handling problems in the troubled region.
The foreign ministry has been asked to clarify to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) regarding the loss of many lives when Thai marines fended off a militant assault on their outpost which left 16 insurgents dead in an overnight shootout, Lt-Gen Paradorn said.