BANGKOK, Dec 26 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday instructed all security agencies to safeguard Thailand’s southern border region to prevent any possible insurgent incident during the upcoming New Year celebrations.
The move came in the wake of insurgent threats of a new wave of strife during the New Year holiday.
The premier said the armed forces, police, interior ministry and the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) were told to remain vigilant during the long New Year holiday, but she did not want the public to be alarmed as that could play into the insurgents’ hopes.
More than 4,800 people have lost their lives over the past eight years of insurgency in the Muslim-predominant southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. Most of the victims are local residents, teachers, security personnel and militants.
Earlier Monday, visiting Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimaprakorn told a special Marine task force at Narathiwat’s Chulabhorn Naval Camp that security must be stepped up during the New Year and the eighth anniversary of the 2004 arms robbery at an Army camp in the Fourth Pattana Battalion in Narathiwat’s Cho Airong district on Jan 4.
The pace of violence has picked up since the insurgents first raided the southern army camp, reviving the long running tensions and triggering insurgency along the border region with mainly Muslim Malaysia.
All military units must heighten their vigilance around the clock to ensure safety of the public, he said.
Capt Somkiat Ponprayoon, Chulabhorn Naval Camp’s special Marine task force commander reported to the Supreme Commander that his unit seized 33 firearms and ammunition from a group of Runda Kumputlan Kecil (RKK) Muslim insurgents over the year with 10 of their bases being raided.
A total of 54 suspects have been detained. Nine have been killed in the crashes.