A choice between convenience and safety
Speaking to reporters during his visit to Yala on February 23 to attend a meeting with security authorities in the aftermath of three bomb explosions in Yala and Narathiwat in February which killed one woman and injured more than 20 others, the army chief said that he didn’t want such violent incidents to be repeated and to inflict more sufferings to the people. For that matter, he has instructed authorities concerned to step up security by increasing check points as a precautionary measure.
The army chief, however, said that, in the past, there were numerous complaints from people of the inconveniece caused by the various check points and wanted the security checks to be eased.
"I would like to ask whether the convenience was worth the recent violence incidents? It was not worth it at all. When the check points were reduced and the spot checks were down, the problem occurred because it would make the movement of weapons and contraband much easier and would lead to violence. From now on, we will have to step up security checks and the people themselves must cooperate because they cannot have everything – that is both the convenience and safety – all at the same time," he was quoted to have said.
General Prayuth insisted that his visit to the restive region was not prompted by the three bombing explosions which occurred within a duration of eight days from February 13 to February 21 – two in Yala and one in Narathiwat. It was his routine visit to get himself acquainted with the developments of the situation and to follow up the performance of the authorities concerned, he said.
The army chief admitted that it was impossible for the security authorities to ensure 100 percent safety in the entire region under their jurisdiction. In the past, he said half of the security forces were assigned to provide protection to teachers and monks and to safeguard temples but the strategy was to be adjusted to cope with a shift in the tactics of the insurgents.
General Prayuth admitted that not all the violent incidents which took place in the three southernmost provinces were perpetrated by insurgents but also by drug gangs. He said he had instructed the Internal Security Operations Command to take a closer look at the drug problem and to deal more harshly with the drug gangs.
Two days after the army chief’s visit to Yala, security forces launched two coordinated sweeps of suspected insurgent hideouts in Yala province. The raid in Bo Jed Look village, Muang district, which involved about 100 men netted three suspected insurgents who were caught with several disassembled mobile phones and transmitters believed to be used in bomb makings.
The suspects were identified as Sofun Baka, 25; Arbeeya Laemae, 25 and Anuwat Jeh Yusoh, 26.
In the second raid in Krong Penang district, security forces arrested 12 suspected members of the RKK militant group and seized 38 items of weapons, accessories and medicines.