Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thai's army chief says south's problems will last for another generation

20 years of trouble

By Post Reporters and AFP

Pattani - The separatist insurgency in the deep South will not be stopped for at least another generation, outgoing army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin says.

Gen Sonthi was in the southern province of Pattani for a farewell ceremony held in his honour. The general will retire at the end of the month but will remain chairman of the Council for National Security (CNS).

A lot more time will be required to realise the goal of stamping out the insurgency which resumed with the weapons heist and killing of soldiers guarding them at an army camp in Narathiwat on Jan 4, 2004.

"It may be another generation," he said.

Residents in Yaha and Bannang Sata districts of Yala are in high spirits as the nighttime curfew was temporarily lifted from Wednesday for the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan, according to the Yala Islamic Committee.

Interior Minister Aree Wongarya said the committee reported the lifting of the curfew had brought joy to Muslim people in the two districts as it allowed them to perform their religious duties unhindered during Ramadan which began on Wednesday and will last 30 days.

Mr Aree said security developments and assessments of the unrest by the Internal Security Operations Command would determine if the curfew should be made permanent.

Meanwhile, Araya Watae, 29, a female worker at Rueso district hall, was shot dead in an ambush in Narathiwat yesterday.

Police said she was on her way to a rubber plantation before going to work at the district hall when gunmen fired three shots at her.

In Yala, an unknown number of attackers opened fire at a house owned by a policeman in Muang district on Thursday. The policeman escaped unhurt, but his wife was slightly injured.

Elsewhere in Muang district, a grocery delivery man was shot and wounded yesterday.

Shortly afterwards, Hattaya Tangprathomwong, a teacher, 53, sustained serious wounds to the stomach in a drive-by shooting as she drove her motorcycle home in the same district.

No comments: