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General news >> Saturday July 07, 2007
DEEP SOUTH

Reconciliation not working, general says

NUCHAREE RAEKRUN & MUHAMMAD AYUB PATHAN

Former Fourth Army chief Harn Leelanont lambasted the government's ''policy of reconciliation'' in the restive South yesterday, saying it has left security personnel incapable of containing the violence. Gen Harn said the government has instructed its forces to use non-violent tactics as much as possible in countering the insurgency.

But the policy has backfired, he said from Nakhon Si Thammarat yesterday, with more and more officials and innocent people left as sitting ducks to be picked off by separatist militants.

He said the government was misguided in its thinking that it could deal with the insurgents by employing only non-violent methods. Instead, it should come up with more effective measures to end the killing such as disarming the insurgents.

Gen Harn said the setting up of permanent checkpoints on roads was not enough to stop marauding rebels from attacking local villagers and security forces at will. Fast-deployment, mobile police units also need to be put in place to search villages which may double as weapons depots for the insurgents.

Yala police yesterday arrested three suspected insurgents and seized seven homemade bombs.

The three suspects denied the charges of possession of illegal explosives, which police said were made at the same place.

Yaha district chief Supanat Sirirantavineiti said a suspect, Mahayaruding Garem who was killed in an earlier clash with authorities, was on an arrest warrant from 2004 and had a 500,000-baht bounty on his head. He was believed to have been a senior militant active in tambon Patae of Yaha district, he added.

Police located his body on Thursday as his friends were performing a burial ceremony for him. The friends fled but were arrested by police soon afterwards.

In Narathiwat, more than 600 students from Islamburapa religious school in Muang district were transferred to other schools after its license was withdrawn following allegations it was a breeding ground and hideout for insurgents.


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