Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thai PM: 4,000 more rangers to reinforce troop contingent in South

BANGKOK, March 12 (TNA) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thursday that the military’s top brass and the country’s police chief had agreed to send 4,000 additional rangers to the insurgency-torn southern border region in an effort to stem the intensified insurgency.

Speaking after chairing a security meeting here, the premier conceded a dampening if the insurgency in the far South has yet to be accomplished.

"The fact that we must reinforce (the personnel already there with) a large number of security forces and allocate a substantial budget indicated that the mission has been unsuccessful, Mr. Abhisit said.

"Just reducing the frequency of the insurgent attacks alone is insufficient,” he said, “as the insurgents had stepped up the violence to create fear and control a larger area.”

The prime minister said the reinforcements were aimed at helping restore peace in the troubled region.

He added that the region’s security agencies are scheduled in April to review the result of the enforcement of the Executive Decree on Government Administration in Emergency Situations in the southern border provinces.

The Cabinet approved the extension of the decree restive South for another three months, from January 20 through April 19.

Effected by executive order of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the decree has been enforced since first enacted in July 2005 and has been renewed every three months since then.

The decree gives the security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention in the three southernmost provinces as well as some parts of Songkhla province, excluding Hat Yai. It remains in force for three months at a time.

Over 3,500 people have been killed in the three southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat since violence erupted in early 2004.

The prime minister also stressed the need to provide better opportunities for young people through education in an attempt to prevent the insurgent networks from recruiting youth into their operations. (TNA)

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