Southern insurgents shift target to private sector: Deputy PM

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BANGKOK, Aug 22 — Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa said today’s high profile arson by anti-government insurgents in Pattani showed that they have shifted their target to the private sector which is a soft target after they could not achieve much success against government authorities.

Gen Yuthasak, who oversees national security, commented after today’s burning of an automobile agency by presumed insurgents, who destroyed 15 new Honda cars.

The insurgent groups in Thailand’s Malaysian border provinces are trying to intensify the violence, he said, suggesting that businesses will now be targeted as they insurgents had proved  themselves not very successful  in attacking government security units. He said the anti-government insurgents have shifted to more vulnerable targets with the intention to impact public and private sectors in urban areas.

He said that the authorities now were arresting some insurgents at the operational level and are closing in on the leading insurgents behind the local actions.

Gen Yuthasak said that insurgent leaders have contacted the government seeking to surrender. The government is now considering some conditions which could not be revealed to the public at the moment.

Both police and military in the insurgent-affected area should provide moral support to the public while seeking to resolve the violence in the far south, he said.

Urban areas should have more strict security measures in place, Gen Yuthasak said.

The national security chief said he will meet with security agencies Thursday at 2pm, particularly intelligence units and agencies deploying staff in the southernmost provinces.