Narathiwat security tightened on Tak Bai incident anniversary


NARATHIWAT, Oct 25 – Security has been tightened here as today is the ninth anniversary of the Tak Bai incident to prevent any possible attacks in this restive southern province.

Capt Noppadol Thitawattanasakul, commanding the Marine Corps contingent at the Chulabhorn Camp, said security personnel have stepped up their operations including patrols and setting up more checkpoints.

As of now, he said no irregularities or violence were reported.

At Tak Bai on October 25, 2004, hundreds of men were arrested while protesting the arrest of six local men. The detained protesters were handcuffed and piled into trucks heading for an army camp in nearby Pattani province. On arrival at the camp, at least 78 were found to have died from suffocation.

Tak Bai has been a rallying cry for Muslim separatists since then and the anniversaries have often been tense.

In nearby Yala province, checkpoints have also been set up on routes leading to the Yala provincial seat to scan for any suspicious persons, as well as suspicious vehicles.

Col Pramrote Prom-in, spokesman for the Army’s Region 4 Internal Security Operations Command, said the Thai government feels regret for the Tak Bai incident which occurred nine years ago and has provided a rehabilitation scheme for affected people.

He noted that ill-intended groups of persons try to use the incident to intensify differences between ethnic Malay Muslims and ethnic Thai Buddhists in the region. Col Pramote called such persons to stop instigating unrest and divisiveness.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today chaired a meeting of the defence council to follow up the situation in deep South. (MCOT online news)