Army chief says money alone cannot end southern insurgency


BANGKOK, Dec 13 – Without civic cooperation, the decade-long violence in Thailand’s far South will not be resolved despite the government’s allocation of a huge anti-insurgency budget, according to Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

He was apparently referring to the government’s approval of a new Bt7 billion budget to combat the southern insurgency which has recently escalated with a series of fatal shootings of civilians and teachers.

The army chief today accompanies Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to inspect the southern region and join a meeting of state officials in charge of security.

Gen Prayuth said 70 per cent of the Bt7 billion budget (about US$225 million) will go to salaries and allowances for military forces on duty in the trouble-plagued provinces.

“Everyone has asked for total safety, which is impossible in the present situation. Not only teachers but state officials are prone to attacks,” he said. “In the past, some teachers did not want soldiers to be near them or provide security to their schools for fear of becoming targets of attack.”

He said the military is willing to withdraw its forces from the South if local security authorities including defence volunteers and police are ready to take care of the situation.