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BANGKOK 19 October 2018 17:49
webfact

Southern Army chief urged to tackle ‘double standards’

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Southern Army chief urged to tackle ‘double standards’

By THE NATION

 

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THE NEW Fourth Army Region chief, Lt-General Pornsak Poonsa, who recently took charge of Thailand’s predominantly Muslim southernmost provinces, was yesterday urged by Buddhist residents of Yala province to tackle double standards in the treatment of people of different religions, corruption in certain state offices as well as emphasise development work.


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Pornsak yesterday met with 500 Buddhist residents at a temple in Yala’s Muang district to gather input and recommendations on tackling the unrest and other issues. 

 

Napasorn Sirimangkalo, the representative of the Buddhist group “Tai Rom Puttatham Yala”, said the residents hoped Pornsak would help restore peace to the region so that people could make a living in harmony. Little is known about the new chief’s policy direction due to lack of information. Pointing to existing double standards in the treatment of people and even in providing aid, she urged measures to ensure equality among people of different religions to prevent the conflict from escalating.

 

She also urged Pornsak to help curb corruption in certain state offices and implement job promotions that prioritised locals in order to boost their morale. She said the violent attacks had lessened, hence the authorities should focus more on development and “take care of people’s hearts and minds” and not just give money. 

 

Also present at the meeting were Yala Governor Anuchit Trakulmututa, Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre deputy secretary-general Somkiat Ponprayoon and Provincial Police Region 9 chief Pol Lt-General Ronnasil Phusara.

 

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While making a courtesy call on Sunday on the Sheikhul lslam of Thailand, Aziz Phitakkumpon, Pornsak had vowed to launch proactive measures to significantly clean up drug issues. 

 

He cited a recent survey that found that most residents in the deep South saw the drug problem as the most pressing issue, not the separatist insurgency which reignited in 2004 and has since claimed almost 7,000 lives. 

 

Among the measures to crack down on drugs was the Army Region’s coordination with the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and related agencies to soon raid 7,000 target locations – 5,000 spots to be raided by the Army and 2,000 spots by police. The raids would be transparent and respect the human rights of the suspects and be done as necessary, he assured.

 

Pornsak said the ONCB would also get public participation, with kamnans and village headmen taking key roles in curbing drug addiction in communities. The Army would serve as a support force. As people believed drug use persisted because of state officials’ involvement, Pornsak said officials, especially military men who were found guilty of selling illicit drugs would face disciplinary action and punishment under the criminal code.

 

Pornsak said he would continue the ongoing projects or operations that were good, including the government’s talks with separatists, as it was the government policy.

 

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Security officers’ patrol plan would be adjusted, as truck or motorcycle patrols on the same routes made officers vulnerable to attacks.

“The military must not be lazy, just going on trucks and heading back to a base... They must focus more on foot patrol and stay overnight nearby to help protect villagers in the area... If the soldiers stay close by, no insurgent would dare to be in the area.”

 

Pornsak also would push forward the idea of defence by people, through providing payments and welfare from the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 front command’s Bt4,500-a-month urgent employment programme. 

 

“When we provide funds and tools for operations, if an attack occurs, those responsible for providing security in a two-kilometre-radius from the attack scene must be held accountable,” he added. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30355663

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-10-03

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

urged by Buddhist residents of Yala province to tackle double standards in the treatment of people of different religions, corruption in certain state offices as well as emphasise development work.

urging him to be 'not-thai'

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9 hours ago, webfact said:

defence by people, through providing payments and welfare from the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 front command’s Bt4,500-a-month urgent employment programme. 

If once a failure, try and try again.

 

In October 2014 the Army Commander-in-Chief and the Internal Security Operations Command introduced a defense plan that replicates its “Thung Yang Daeng Model" security arrangement almost a decade ago in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. Via the Chor Ror Bor, village chiefs and Defence Volunteers, all of whom fall under the Interior Ministry's line of command, it would provide security measures to guard against insurgent attacks would be done through integration of relevant agencies in all aspects. But basically it would outsource security duties to local residents.


Implementing the Thung Yang Daeng Model was the Chor Ror Bor - temporary outposts intended to protect the half-dozen village defense volunteers. The military also established in 2015 the Village Protection Force also known as the Or Ror Bor, a network of exclusively Buddhist militiamen [remember 95% of the South is Muslim] that stretches across the Malay-speaking region of the three southernmost provinces and four districts in Songkhla province.

 

All the security plans did was push local residents, who are normally left alone because they pose little or no threat to the insurgents, further into the line of insurgent fire.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/A-deep-wound-still-festering-in-the-far-South-30266106.html

So here is where the South is today - another Fourth Army Region chief with recycled 13-year old military solutions. It's time the new political parties address their strategies to achieve peace in the South. Which could attract far more danger from the junta than from the insurgency.

 

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17 hours ago, webfact said:

Pornsak yesterday met with 500 Buddhist residents at a temple in Yala’s Muang district to gather input and recommendations on tackling the unrest and other issues

So in a region that is predominantly muslim (72%), the army asks buddhist residents for recommendations.

 

I think I can see part of the problem right there.

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