Yuthasak visits Pattani, inspecting response to southern problems


BANGKOK, Aug 10 — Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa on Friday flew to the southern province of Pattani to inspect police, military and other security agencies response to the ongoing southern border problems and to visit all agencies operating to deal with the violence and give them moral support.

Gen Yuthasak, in charge of security affairs, was accompanied by Defence Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat, Army chief Gen Prayuth Chanocha and Deputy National Police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung have not accompanied Gen Yuthasak as earlier reported.

Gen Yuthasak was scheduled to visit Sirindhorn Camp in Pattani’s Yarang district to review the latest developments in the southern border provinces and follow up measures implemented to address the problems.

He was expected to visit religious leaders and meet residents there before returning to Bangkok at 4pm.

Gen Yuthasak’s trip, for only one day, follows his assignment to head the new operations centre, which will work on new strategies to restore peace in the restive south.

However, the new centre has drawn criticism particularly from the opposition Democrat party which said that the centre is just one more of a large number of agencies whose functions overlap, complicate and confuse the government response.

But Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra defended the government’s action, saying the new body would not overlap with existing agencies but would instead bring them together to follow the same strategy and work more effectively in dealing with the southern problems.