Government mulls lifting of Emergency Decree
The newly-appointed chief of the National Security Council is in favour of gradually lifting Emergency Decree which has been imposed in most of the far South for more than seven years.
In the "Yingluck Government Meets the People" television programme on September 22, Lt-Gen Paradorn Patthanathabut hinted that Emergency Decree would be lifted in some areas of the three southernmost provinces where there have been no violent incidents or the violent incidents are minimal.
The NSC secretary-general some of the statistics of violent incidents in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat which were compiled by the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre.
The statistics compiled during October 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012 show that out of a total of 1,609 villages in 32 districts of the three southernmost provinces placed under Emergency Decree, only 257 villages reported violent incidents representing 15.97 percent of all the villages.
A province-wise breakdown shows that in Yala, violent incidents occurred in 49 out of a total of 380 villages or 12.89 percent; in Narathiwat, violent incidents were reported in 73 out of 589 villages or 12.39 percent and in Pattani, only 135 villages have reported violent incidents out of a total of 506 villages representing just 21.06 percent.
From the statistics, it was assumed that armed insurgency perpetrated by the militants was not widespread but mostly concentrated in some 250 villages out of a total of 1,609 villages in the three southernmost provinces.
With the exception of Mae Larn district in Pattani, Emergency Decree has been imposed in the entire provinces of Yala, Pattani and Pattani and only four districts of Songkhla. The decree has been extended 29 times each covering a period of three months.
For the 1,352 villages which have been free of violence, the SBPAC has set out a plan to mobilize the people through their local leaders such as kamnan, village heads, district chief officers and provincial governors to address five key issues namely illicit drugs, unemployment, health problem, problem about justice and safety in life and properties. A 282 million baht initial budget has been secured for these efforts.
As for the planned lifting of the Emergency Decree, an informed security source said that several officers disagreed with the former Democrat government’s decision to lift the decree in Mae Larn district of Pattani because it was tactical incorrect and the security lapse might hamper the efficiency of the decree as a whole.
Following the defection of 93 former militants on September 11, the Fourth Army Region and SBPAC have decided to step up their campaigns to convince more militants to give up their armed struggle and to return to their families.
A security source noted that the car bomb attack in Sai Buri district of Pattani on September 21 was believed to be perpetrated by hard-core militants to retaliate against the mass defection of the militants and to intimidate the others not to follow in their footstep.