Posts Tagged ‘Deep South’
Thailand might lose the deep South if the United Nations intervenes to suppress the violence in the region, deputy army chief Daopong Rattanasuban said on Friday.
“We have not lost our land yet, but if we’re complacent and let the UN intervene and hold a referendum, then we’re finished,” Gen Daopong said.
“We won’t let this happen and we’ll fight it to the death, but our Muslim brothers and sisters have to understand us because we’re fighting against a small percentage of people who are using guerrilla warfare tactics.”
The insurgents wanted to get villagers on their side by telling them that the government and Thai Buddhists are evil, discriminating and unjust and that officials are using excessive force, he said.
However, 90 per cent of the two million Thai Muslims were well aware of the situation.
The problem in the South was sensitive because it involves religion. Officials needed to be patient and have a good understanding. Fortunately, Thai Muslims understand and the army is trying to gain their trust, he said.
The southern militants, after failing to mislead the villagers, tried to instill fear by setting off bombs and murdering security officers at random, he said.
“We know of many people who are involved in the insurgency movement, but we have to stick to the law. We cannot work blindly and arrest people without reasonable grounds,” the deputy army chief said.
The army is not planning to impose a curfew that will affect the people’s religious activities. A curfew would likely be applied on certain roads, he said.
“People have to understand that the situation in the three southern border provinces is not normal, like in Bangkok. If stringent measures are implemented we’ll have to explain, but the people have to cooperate as well,” he said.
Gen Daopong said Their Majesties the King and Queen have visited the southern border region every year to meet the people there.
“I believe there’s not a single day when Their Majesties are not following news about the South and the incidents that affect the Thai Buddhists and Muslims there.
“I believe that if the situation eases or becomes peaceful, Their Majesties will be in better health,” the deputy army chief said.