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Prayuth sees foreign hands plotting separatist violence

Posted by arnon_k On June - 4 - 2011

Separatist violence in the deep South is being orchestrated from abroad, says army commander-in-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

He made his remarks yesterday before departing for the South to evaluate the army’s efforts to contain the violence.

Gen Prayuth said the problems in the far South were more complicated now after a number of groups had entered the fray in the restive region.

He would not identify the groups, saying the information was top secret. But he stressed that foreign organisations were exerting control over political groups or illicit business groups, enticing them to collude in stirring up unrest.

“We’ve been trying our best to contain the problem, as you can see from the number of suspects we’ve detained in drug and oil smuggling cases,” he said.

Gen Prayuth added that the army would withdraw troops from the South it had brought in from other regions only if the situation improved significantly and if the 4th Army was capable of ensuring security there on its own.

The army has deployed soldiers from other regions in the far South but it plans to eventually leave the area in the hands of the Pattani-based 15th Infantry Division and the 4th Army.

Pulling out those troops who came from other regions would happen only when the 15th Infantry Division is fully equipped with the soldiers and commanders it is supposed to have.

If the army withdraws those soldiers early, it would take five to six years to bring them back if the southern violence flares up again, Gen Prayuth said.

He brushed aside criticism that deployment of troops from other parts of the country had resulted in fragmented operations in the deep South, saying that all soldiers there were under the control of the same army commander.In Narathiwat, background checks of three militant suspects killed on Thursday during a gunfight with security forces on a mountain covering Bacho and Raman districts indicated they were suspected leading members of the militant Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) separatist movement.

They were identified as Roya Kalamo, Lukfi Taye and Hare Chemu. Roya and Hare were both allegedly trainers of RKK guerillas and Lukfi a bomb maker.

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