No curfew in Thailand’s restive South: PM

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BANGKOK, Aug 7 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday reaffirmed that she does not plan to impose a curfew to deter violence in the insurgency-torn southern border provinces.

The premier’s positive message came in the wake of more intense and frequent attacks in the region, which recently claimed lives of dozens of security personnel, sparking concern over the possibility of a curfew in the region.

Ms Yingluck, who will chair a meeting of security agencies tomorrow, said that as of now, she has no thought to impose a curfew there as the issue must be thoroughly considered.

The premier insisted that the southern border problem had to be tackled under the integrated mechanism of existing agencies.

She said Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa was assigned to head a new unified command operations centre, while Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Vichaidit were directed to support the operations which need more cooperation from the police and interior ministry.

The prime minister also welcomed the advice of the opposition Democrat Party, saying the issue is a national agenda and her government will heed their suggestion as the Democrats are mainly from the South.

The Wednesday meeting will be attended by the National Security Council (NSC), the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) and the Malaysian embassy.

Meanwhile, Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva repeated his advice after returning from the troubled region that the premier herself should coordinate between ISOC and SBPAC.

“As the chair of both agencies, the premier should coordinate their work to allow both the security operations and development to run in unison,” Mr Abhisit said.

He warned that the government must enforce the law through the civilian-oriented SBPAC rather than implementing a military-driven policy through ISOC, otherwise it would intensify the problem as happened in 2008.