Cops boost security to defend locals

Cops boost security to defend locals

The Southern Border Police Command (SBPC) chief has ordered a tightening of security measures to protect Thai Buddhists in the deep South following a spate of shootings over the past week.  

The SBPC yesterday held a meeting with local police representatives to discuss the latest bout of violence. The meeting was chaired by Pol Lt Gen Anurut Kritsanakaraket, the SBPC chief.

Pol Lt Gen Anurut expressed his condolences to victims of recent attacks and their families in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

He said he ordered his officers to step up security in the deep South after recently holding talks with top officials from the 4th Army Region and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre.

He said village defence volunteers will work with security officials on how best to protect  local residents, particularly in areas where the majority are Thai Buddhists. Police officers have also been instructed to be thorough when conducting searches of individuals and vehicles at checkpoints.

More checkpoints will be set up to look out for suspect vehicles and search for firearms on major roads, he said.

A larger number of police officers will also be deployed in violence-prone areas to be on hand when needed, he said.

The latest shooting took place on Monday when a Thai Buddhist couple were shot in tambon Kalong of Narathiwat's Si Sakhon district. The husband died at the scene while his wife was wounded and was taken to a local hospital.

Last  Saturday, three women were killed, including a mother and daughter, who were shot dead while making their way home from a market in Yala's Betong district. A  teacher was also gunned down outside her home in Pattani's Khok Pho district.

Whenever authorities kill or arrest separatist leaders or seize anything used in attacks against state officials, insurgents often retaliate by attacking innocent civilians, Pol Lt Gen Anurut said. 

Meanwhile, security forces yesterday found banners with messages threatening authorities, teachers and Buddhists in Yi-ngo, Muang and Bacho districts of Narathiwat. The banners were quickly removed, an official said.

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