Songkhla districts returned to provincial care
Songkhla Governor Kritsada Boonrat Tuesday announced that Na Thawee and Chana districts had returned to the provincial administration's care from the Army following a two-year period of no attacks by insurgents.
The districts would now serve as models for self-defence in the South, Kristsada said, expressing confidence that the locals could take care and solve their own problems, paving the way towards a sustainable peace.
Kritsada, as head of the Songkhla unit of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), took the two districts back from the Songkhla Special Task Force, which had overseen four Songkhla districts.
Provincial police, defence volunteers, kamnans, village headman and their seven assistants would jointly oversee security in the districts, calling on the Army for back-up if needed. Each village head would get Bt10,500 while assistants receive Bt7,500 per month. Each village also receives aid funds of Bt20,000, Kritsada said.
Hailing the handover of the districts as a sign of improvement, Kritsada said the peaceful situation had been bolstered by talks in which insurgents surrendered under Internal Security Act Article 21. Three out of 17 suspects wanted for national security cases had surrendered while talks continued in positive directions with the others, he said. Under Article 21, the suspects submitted to a six-month vocational training programme, after which they could be entitled to exemption from punishments in security and criminal cases.