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Security law to be lifted in 5 south Thailand districts
Publication Date : 05-03-2013
To bolster dealings in the South between authorities and insurgent groups, the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) will be revoked in five districts in three provinces and replaced by the softer emergency decree, the National Security Council's (NSC) Paradorn Pattanathabut announced yesterday.
The areas designated are Kapho district in Pattani, Betong and Kabang districts in Yala, and Waeng and Sukhirin districts in Narathiwat.
The decision was made based on a recommendation by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) yesterday.
The period of the current ISA in the South expires on March 19 - and this NSC decision will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval next Tuesday.
Paradorn said he would go to Malaysia in the next two weeks to set the agenda, jointly with Malaysian authorities, for talks with four insurgent representatives.
Asked about what influence the representatives would have on active insurgents, Paradorn said the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Coordinate had several components and the first steps would mainly involve talks with its leadership.
As efforts to sort out the Islamic separatism continue, violence in the region also continued, with a defence volunteer shot dead in Narathiwat's Rue Soh district, likely by insurgents. Marohsi Yaning was gunned down in an ambush while riding a motorcycle. He worked with a security outpost in Bacho district.
SBPAC director Thawee Sodsong called on local residents to take part in coming open discussions to be held throughout the strife-torn region, to create "better understanding between people with different thoughts". He said the Foreign Ministry would handle any issues or efforts involving the next steps where foreign relations were relevant. He did not elaborate.
Defence Minister Sukampol Suwannathat said talks with the BRN Coordinate were the first step towards a non-violent solution, but conditions must not violate Thailand's constitution. He was asked whether one of the four insurgent representatives appeared in a television programme made possible five years ago by former Army chief Chettha Thanajaro. Sukampol said people who raised this issue were the same old people who wanted to hinder progress.
Appointed Senator Khamnoon Sitthisamarn called on the government to hold a House session for parliamentarians to make enquiries about the talks, authorised under the Constitution's Article 179, about important state affairs. Another appointed Senator, Jate Siratharanont, said he welcomed the talks but secret deals leading to peace with insurgents should have been held before the talks were made public.
A member of a former national committee on peace solutions in the South, Hammadsomboon Bualuang, called for optimism on the violence issue. It was the outcome of the anticipated process, rather than the belief over whether these four people actually represented the insurgency that was important, he said.
Citing peace solutions in other countries, he said most processes were time-consuming and the issue in Thailand might take 15 years, with violence expected to continue along the way.