Rebel defectors want justice, safety

The 93 men facing separatist-related charges who surrendered to authorities last week are seeking justice and safety, says Deputy Prime Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa.

Their concerns echo those of most people in the far South who want justice and social equality, Gen Yutthasak said on Saturday on the "Yingluck Government Meets the People" weekly talk show on NBT.

He said the government aimed to enhance the chances of children in the three southernmost provinces to obtain higher education so they could become a part of the teams working to settle problems in the region, he added.

Speaking a day after a car bomb killed six people in Pattani, Gen Yutthasak insisted that conditions were improving. Fourth Army commander Udomchai Thamsarorach had told him that he was happy to see some signs of success, including the decision by some defectors to talk, he said.

Lt-Gen Paradon Pattanathabut, deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council, said on the same programme that the meeting between the rebel defectors and Lt-Gen Udomchai was a good sign.

He expected more defectors to surrender to authorities in the near future.

As conditions were improving, the authorities were considering revoking the emergency decree in effect in some districts of the southern border provinces, Lt-Gen Paradon said.

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