Thai Cabinet extends emergency decree in southern border region


BANGKOK, Dec 13 – The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday extended the emergency decree in the three southern border provinces for another three months.

Deputy Government Spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said that action affecting Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani applies from Dec 20 through March 19, 2012.

A public opinion survey in the region found that local residents are satisfied with the emergency decree being in place. Meanwhile, the prime minister ordered the authorities to carefully implement the law to prevent possible human rights infringements, he said.

Effected by executive order of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in July 2005, emergency rule has been enforced three months at a time, with successive renewals, ever since.

The decree gives Thailand’s security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention in the three southernmost provinces.

Meanwhile, more violence has been reported in region. Two army outposts in Narathiwat’s Ruso district were attacked Monday night.

In one incident a remote-controlled bomb was put on the fence of a Suwaree sub-district local government office at an army outpost. The explosion made two holes in the wall and a roof of a building inside was damaged by a grenade.

Soldiers and attackers exchanged gunfire before the latter retreated. Soldiers manning the outpost, about 30, were unhurt.

Two kilometres away, attackers fired an M79 grenade into another outpost but it failed to hit the target and no one was wounded.

Meanwhile, about 1.5 kilometres away, a rubber tree was felled onto a road, blocking one traffic lane, bringing down roadside electric power line. Local workers removed the tree.

The police believed that 40 to 50 Runda Kumputlan Kecil (RKK) suspected insurgents mounted out the attack.

Elsewhere, regional Army ranger volunteer Anun Awae, 29, was shot by presumed insurgents at his home in Yala’s provincial seat, according to police.

The victim was shot three times in the back and the back of his head. Pol Col Kritsada Kaewchandee, superintendent of the Yala’s provincial seat police station said. Two cartridge cases from a .38 pistol were found near his body.

Mr Anun’s wife told police that two teenagers, wearing sarongs and Muslim prayer caps, parked a motorcycle at the victim’s home, asking for shelter from the rain.

The victim was collecting laundry from an outdoor clothesline, and when he came into the house, one of the men shot the victim six times, until he collapsed, dying immediately.  The assailants fled the scene.

Police presumed that the shooting was part of the ongoing unrest in the area.