Isoc says South improved

The situation in the deep South is improving gradually but continuously, according to the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), and a senior officer said the conflict which flared up in 2004 could end soon.

“We may see the light soon,” said Col Pramote Prommin, spokesman for the 4th Region Forward Command of Isoc.

He told the Daily News website Tuesday that the situation was improving, and the southern residents understood the work of security forces and what was really going on.

A good sign was that the international community had stayed out of the conflict, he said.

Col Pramote made the comments to Bangkok-based media on a tour of the three southern border provinces.   

Col Pramote said army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had drawn up strategies to handle the issue and divided them into three phrases.

The first phrase which lasted from 2004 to 2009 was called the “stop the bleeding” phrase which underlined the importance of building security in the region. 

The second, from 2010 to the present, was designed to strengthen all sectors and  about 3,400 police officers would be deployed to the lower South in the middle of May as part of the plan.  

The third phrase was expected to be implemented by April. If the violence ends, military personnel sent to the South from First, Second and Third Army Region would return to their bases and transfer areas to administrative authorities.   

Indicators suggesting whether the situation improved or worsened would be based on how freely residents could live and work, and if the economy was getting better, he noted.

“Section 21 of the Internal Security Act (ISA) is now being imposed in four districts of Songkhla and Pattani’s Mae Laen. So far, in Songkhla, 20 militants have turned themselves in to authorities but only 10 of them matched the criteria required by the section 21.

“Two defecting militants have completed the rehabilitation programme. One is now  operating a computer shop, and the other runs a barber shop. 

“The programme takes about six months and any participants who pass will be acquitted by the court and sent back home. This is supposed to be a good start" for militants who quit the fight and defect, Col Pramote added.

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