Thailand to impose curfew on 4 provinces

Prayut Chan-o-cha

The government of Thailand is stepping up its security measures in the southernmost provinces but the move was said to have nothing to do with the recent firing attack.

In an announcement on yesterday, the Thailand government said that the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, director of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), will impose a curfew in the Mae Laen district of Pattani; Chana, Saba Yoi, Thepha and Na Thawi in Songkhla; Betong district of Yala, and Sungai Kolok and Sukhirin districts of Narathiwat.

The plan is slated to begin on December 1, 2019 until November 30, 2020.

The announcement said that the measure was intended to “prevent, contain, and manage the situation in areas where there are threats to national security in an orderly and effective manner.”

Colonel Pramote Phrom-in, spokesman for the ISOC Region 4 Forward Command, said that the residents should not panic over the curfew announcement.

“The announced … regulation only authorizes [the ISOC] to announce a curfew. ISOC has yet to decide on how it may implement that authority,” he said.

It can be recalled that last week, a firing attack occurred in the Yala province in Thailand late at night, claiming 15 lives and injuring four others. Since the insurgency was revived in 2004, a total of 7,000 people have died, the worst loss of life in the history of the region.

The attack was said to have been conducted by Muslim rebels who were fighting to establish an independent state.

Authorities said that there were at least 10 attackers who approached on foot to attack the defense volunteers at about 11:20 pm on a security checkpoint.

The attackers used explosives, set tyres to fire, fell a tree, bombed a power pole, and scattered nails on the road to prevent pursuers, and hindered emergency services rushing to the scene of the attack.

The prime minister also said that the attackers have been identified but he refused to divulge details, citing pending investigation.

“If we interpret the situation incorrectly and choose the wrong approach to deal with it, the violence will flare up even more,” Chan-o-cha said.

He said that the government will also seek to have peace talks with the rebels, which will be conducted on various levels, and will involve several officials such as political leaders, military officials, as well as former and current leaders of the insurgent groups.