Situation in deep South will improve: Defence minister

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BANGKOK, Feb 21 – Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat reaffirmed on Thursday that the government has made the right moves to tackle violence in Thailand’s insurgency-torn deep South and that the situation will improve in a few months.

The defence minister made remarks following renewed violence in the southern border region as he departed Bangkok for Yala and Pattani this morning to follow up the operations of security agencies and be briefed on the situation there, as well as hear opinions on possibly changing the currently imposed emergency decree for the Internal Security Act.

Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol insisted that the government has taken the right steps as the situation has gradually improved. In the next one or two months, he said, it will be better as violence has occurred in only 15 per cent of the entire areas.

“There is high possibility that the government will enforce the Internal Security Act in many areas. During this period concerned officials must create better understanding on the special law enforcement.” said the defence minister.

If the situation there improves, ACM Sukumpol said it is possible that the cabinet will hold its meeting in the region earlier after planning to meet in November.

The defence minister is scheduled to visit the marine outpost in Narathiwat’s Bacho district which was attacked by insurgents, ending with the death of 16 in the incident, in order to give moral support to the personnel there.

He also planned to visit an army base in Pattani’s Thung Yang Daeng and speak on the government’s policies at Inkayuthaboriharn Army Camp.