Army chief laments lax security in South

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BANGKOK, Jan 25 – Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha conceded today that loopholes remain in preventing violence and attacks on teachers in Thailand’s far South despite reinforcement of state security personnel in the region.

He was referring to Wednesday’s daylight attack on Ban Tanyong School in Narathiwat province in which a Muslim teacher was killed.

Gen Prayuth said the government is accountable and must take responsibility for the fatal shooting despite the school’s refusal of security protection by the authorities.

The army chief said he informed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that the armed forces have regularly adjusted their security measures in the South where mutual agreements have been reached with many of the schools, be they Buddhist or Muslim.

Patrol police officers are on duty during the day but loopholes are not ruled out, he said, adding the management of Ban Tanyong School did not blame the authorities for the incident.

“It’s not easy to instruct 60,000 personnel from different units, including army privates, to work in unison,” he said.

To solve the southern problems, the army chief said, law enforcement is necessary while wrongdoers should be encouraged to give up and join in the country’s development.