Army chief: Ending southern crisis ‘an uphill task’


YALA, Nov 14 – Thailand’s army chief today claimed improvements have been made in the southern security situation, but made no promise for an early solution.

The general situation in insurgency-plagued southern Thailand has improved but a return to normality and total safety for residents is not easy and will take time, Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said today.

In the sensitive province to be updated on the latest assessment of the situation in the Muslim-predominant deep South, Gen Prayuth said some southern residents chose to support the anti-government insurgents either out of ignorance or in fear for their own safety if they don’t.

He was briefed by several security agencies including the Yala special task force, border patrol police unit and Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre.

Gen Prayuth also discussed preparations for a planned visit by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who will inaugurate a bridge connecting Highway No 410 with Banglang Reservoir in Yala’s Than To district next Thursday.

He said a short-term solution to the southern crisis has been carried out and authorities are launching the mid-term plan which should last 1-3 years while the long-term solution will take longer than five years.

It’s a multi-dimensional strategy which integrates over 100 plans from various government agencies and has been approved by the government, he said.