Stringent security measures are now in place in Yala province ahead of the ninth anniversary of Tak Bai tragedy on Friday, reports said.
Security forces action against protesters in Tak Bai district in adjoining Narathiwat province on Oct 25, 2004 resulted in 85 deaths - mostly people who suffocated after being arrested and packed into military trucks.
Fourth Army Region commander Lt Gen Sakon Chuentrakul on Thursday morning called a meeting of commanders of all military task forces and paramilitary companies operating in Yala, and the Yala police chief. He ordered them to ensure stringent security measures for Thursday and Friday.
Lt Gen Sakon told the meeting that there is a possibility separatist militants would launch attacks in the far South, including Yala, on Oct 25 to mark the ninth anniversary of the Tak Bai protest and deaths, according to the reports.
It was reported that police have set up security checkpoints on all roads heading to Yala municipality. All vehicles entering the city were being carefully inspected.
Pattani governor Wittaya Panichpong said on Thursday that he had ordered the joint military, police and administrative forces to ensure the safety of various state agencies, communities and economic zones in the province during the ninth anniversary of the Tak Bai tragedy on Friday.
Mr Wittaya also ordered checkpoints set up on main roads and risk points to inspect vehicles to prevent possible attacks from the southern insurgents to mark the anniversary.
All military and police outposts, particularly those in remote areas, were ordered to brace for any attacks as intelligent reports stated that the separatist militants are planning to attacks several outposts in retaliation to those killed in Tak Bai incident in 2004, he said.
According to Deep South Watch, which monitors the southern violence, more than 5,000 people have been killed and over 9,000 injured in more than 11,000 incidents, or about 3.5 a day, in the three southernmost provinces and t four districts of Songkhla since separatist violence erupted afresh in January 2004.