Govt curfew in South decision Friday
- Published: 14/02/2013 at 07:05 PM
- Online news:
The government represented by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and agencies responsible for security will sit down on Friday to decide whether to impose a curfew in strife-hit areas of the South.
The meeting in Bangkok is being held after marines killed 16 attackers trying to raid their base in Bacho district in Narathiwat on Wednesday. At least 30 assailants fled the scene and are being hunt by soldiers, police and rangers.
The incident fuelled speculation about the need to declare a curfew in some areas in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala. Mr Chalerm and Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha have declared support for the plan amid protests from local leaders, academics and the opposition Democrat Party. They have warned of a setback and trouble for local residents if a curfew is announced.
Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana said on Thursday that officials should listen to the voice of local people before making a decision.
Ukrit Mongkolnavin, chairman of the government-appointed Independent National Rule of Law Commission, joined a chorus of critics of the plan by issuing a statement on Wednesday that a curfew would curb the rights of people in the three southern provinces.
The curfew would not solve problems in the region, only damage the image of the country, he said.
Mr Chalerm stressed his backing for the curfew at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, saying a curfew was necessary only in some southern locations.
The deputy prime minister said compensation for the families of the 16 insurgents killed on Wednesday was not necessarily financial aid but could be in other forms such as counselling. The decision will rest with the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre, he added.
Security authorities have detained three men suspected of being involved in the attack on the marines in the early hours of Wednesday under Martial Law. The three were arrested in Bacho district in a pickup.
Police stopped the vehicle after finding blood stains on a left door and it was taken to the district police station. The men are now at a ranger base in Raman district, Yala.
They were identified as Fadeh Jema, Aliya Lateh and Muhammad Kafi Jena.
Army deputy spokesman Winthai Suwaree said on Friday that officials recorded the questioning of the three in detail as evidence to counter possible criticism that they would be unfairly treated by interrogators.
Meanwhile, DNA tests on the 16 militants killed during Wednesday's attack on the marine base in Narathiwat had so far confirmed five of them had been previously involved in terrorist activities, forensic scientist Pornthip Rojanasunant said.
Khunying Pornthip, director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS), said the DNA of five of the 16 killed matched samples collected at the scene of previous violence.
The results of the DNA test on all of the 16 would be compared with DNA records collected from weapons, ammunition, grenades and other evidence.
Some of the weapons seized after the failed attack on Feb 13 were found to have been stolen from Pileng camp in Narathiwat in 2004, and Narathiwat Task Force 38 headquarters in 2011, she said.
The CIFS director said it would take another week or so to complete DNA tests on all those killed and the seized equipment.
This could lead to the identification of the number and identities of surviving militants who fled after the attack, she said.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
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