Govt extends emergency decree in southern border region; eight wounded in Pattani bombing


BANGKOK, Dec 12 –  A security meeting  today resolved to extend the emergency decree enforcement in Thailand’s three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat for three more months as violence continues unabated with eight people wounded today in a bombing near Pattani school.

The special law enforcement in the troubled region is due to expire next week, on December 19.

The emergency decree enforcement will be lifted in one district of Yala provided that violent attacks have declined, according to the meeting of security agencies chaired by Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok.

In Gabang district,  the measure will be replaced with the Internal Security Act (ISA) as a New Year’s gift for local residents due to the decreasing incident of violence. However, concerned agencies will reassess the situation there on a monthly basis.

Following yesterday’s bombing in Pattani which killed five soldiers, National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr said he believes the next round of peace talks, earlier scheduled for early this month but delayed due to political demonstrations, might be the cause of continued violence in deep South.

The NSC chief emphasised that the peace dialogue must continue, pending finding an appropriate date and time, and that Thailand’s having a caretaker government will not affect the process.

In Pattani, six army rangers and two civilians were wounded by a bomb explosion near a school this morning.

The bomb placed in front of Ban Lahan Community School in Sai Buri district was detonated via a mobile communication device, wounded six army rangers assigned to protect teachers, as well as two nearby workers.

The violence took place only one day after the bomb ambush in the province that left five soldiers dead and nine others injured.

Meanwhile, banners in the Melayu language using the Rumi alphabet were spread in three districts of Narathiwat and two districts of Yala this morning.  Police said the move was meant to stir up disturbance.

Suspicious objects placed under a chair at one of the sites near the Saphan Dam check point in Yala’s provincial seat and at a roadside in Rigo sub-district of Narathiwat were proven to be fake bombs.

Tyres were burnt in Ban Kasang area in Bannang Sata district along with display of banners to create disturbance.

Police collected fingerprints in hopes to identify whether those who made the banners committed similar acts occurred for more than 10 times during the past year.