Thai PM promises action on suspected militants

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shiniwatra, told journalists attending his weekly press conference that the government would be more aggressive in measures taken to counter insurgency in the country's provinces on the southern border with Malaysia.

His statement followed coordinated attacks by suspected militants in the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani.

At a time chosen for the likelihood of the predominantly Muslim population to be at evening prayers in local mosques, armouries belonging to local village defense forces were raided. According to local media reports there were at least three deaths as well as several people injured — some seriously. The casualties are said to consist of both insurgents and local villagers.

Thaksin said that the suspected separatists demonstrated "strong coordination" in the attacks, he stated that the authorities in the area should have new measures in place by November to aggressively address the issue. Despite strong words on the matter, the Prime Minister emphasized that, "the government will exercise most restraint and patience", and that the government's objective was to bring peace to the region.