Defence chiefs tour hot spots

Defence chiefs tour hot spots

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat and navy chief Surasak Roonruangrom will stay overnight in Narathiwat today to give moral support to security officers in the deep South.

Gen Sukumpol said he and Adm Surasak will travel to Narathiwat and Yala today and tomorrow. Both will stay overnight at Chulabhorn Marine Naval Camp in Narathiwat.

The minister said he will be briefed on recent insurgent activities during his visit.

''As I have been assigned to be responsible for the southern situation, I will make it better next year,'' Gen Sukumpol said.

However, he admitted the problem cannot be solved in the short run.

The minister said the authorities held back on strictly enforcing the security law, to enable people in the troubled region to carry on with their lives as normally as possible.

However, this opening also allowed insurgents to create violence.

Gen Sukumpol said he wants the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre and the Region 4 Internal Security Operation Command to cooperate as they handle violence in the deep South.

''I want to solve the problem quickly, but it must be dealt with carefully,'' he said.

Gen Sukumpol also urged the media not to focus on the southern violence as it would only encourage insurgents to stir up trouble.

''In the New Year, the situation in the South will get better, it won't take long to see,'' he said.

National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said security will be beefed up ahead of the eighth anniversary of the robbery at the 4th military development unit in Narathiwat's Cho Airong district on Jan 4, 2004.

More than 400 firearms were taken by insurgents that day.

A combined force of police and soldiers will be in place to ensure security in the region, Pol Gen Adul said.

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