BANGKOK, Aug 1 – Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa admitted Wednesday to a lack of unity among agencies in addressing southern violence, but said the current situation does not warrant curfew enforcement in response to the incidents.
Yuthasak pointed out that an integrated response is needed among 17 ministries and that each ministry will have to assign staff to the regional command centre for assignments could be unified and more effective.
The minister made the statement following last night’s car bomb attack targeting the CS Pattani Hotel in Pattani’s provincial seat which injured three people.
Sukumpol said the latest attack was an attempt to show the capability of an insurgent movement for others to realise their significance and caused a heavy loss for the army.
Following his discussions with the top brass, the minister concluded that army personnel in the region are vulnerable as they shoulder varied tasks including drugs and contraband goods crackdown, therefore other agencies should also support their work.
Sukumpol said he asked the air force to provide reconnaissance aircraft to support patrol duty of army personnel to ensure their safety.
The request followed stepped up insurgent attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan including the killing of four rangers on a motorcycle patrol in Pattani’s Mayo district on Saturday and two soldiers shot dead in a drive-by killing in Narathiwat on Monday.
Meanwhile, Col Pramote Prom-in, an Army spokesman, said security will be increased in coordination with key agencies including the Internal Security Operations Command and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, as well as 66 agencies of 17 ministries to further protect seven economic zones in four provinces –Yala’s Betong district and provincial seat, Narathiwat’s provincial seat, Tak Bai and Sungai Kolok districts, Pattani’s provincial seat and Hat Yai district in Songkhla province.
Stringent measures will be put in place as well as military reinforcements for better security in economic and safety zones.