The 4th Army is mulling asking the cabinet to lift the emergency decree in four more districts of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, with Mai Kaen district of Pattani being likely to be the first to see the decree revoked.
Mai Kaen district of Pattani had not experienced any insurgent violence over the past two years, and no insurgent movements have been detected here either, said Maj Gen Pramote Phrom-in, the chief-of-staff of the 4th Army, on Sunday.
The other three districts also in line to have the emergency decree revoked are Kapho district in Pattani, Kabang district in Yala and Waeng district in Narathiwat, he said.
Mai Kaen district in particular had passed several rounds of security situation assessment. That process is carried out every three months, before the 4th Army considers proposing to cabinet to either extend the decree or cancel it in each area, he said.
Kabang, Waeng and Kapho districts also passed the latest round of security assessment along with Mai Kaen, which was rated 82% in terms of security, the highest percentage of all in areas still under the power of the emergency decree, he said.
The National Security Council recently visited the deep South and had received the proposal to cancel the emergency decree in Mai Kaen district, which will be next forwarded to the cabinet, he said.
If approved by the cabinet, the district will be the sixth to lift the decree, since it has been invoked to cope with the southern unrest, he said.
The overall violent situation in these three southern border provinces has this year fallen by 58% compared to last year, while the number of deaths associated with the violence dropped by 70%, he said.
A key factor contributing to this success was better cooperation from the locals in the fight to contain the violence, he said.
Meanwhile, in Narathiwat, CPO1 Soem Sidaeng, 56, a member of a special detachment of marines attached to Chulabhorn military camp, was attacked and killed by a group of gunmen hiding by a roadside in Bacho district. He was driving a pickup truck on his way back from dinner to the camp late Saturday night when he was attacked, police said.