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South Crisis

Attacks in South 'not linked' to return of NSC chief Thawil

Fresh violence, which flared up in nine deep South districts on Sunday night, was not a direct response to the return of National Security Council (NSC) chief Thawil Pliensri or the work of criminal groups, as many people suspected, but was the result of insurgents wanting to maintain the violence, analysts said.

There were multiple simultaneous insurgency attacks at several locations in Yala and Narathiwat on Sunday night. One person was killed and nine others injured.

Insurgency groups, which earlier had rejected peace talks, wanted to exploit the political chaos in the capital and the weak authority to keep the momentum of violence going to achieve their goal, analysts said.

An intelligence report indicated that the group met two weeks ago and instructed its cells to attack many sites whenever authorities in Bangkok were busy with the political struggle.

Thawil was not the factor in fuelling the violence, said an official familiar with the security situation in the troubled region.

He did not oppose the peace talks initiated by Yingluck Shinawatra's government as many observers had said but agreed with the peace plan, although he believed it needed to be adjusted to fit the situation, the official said.

NSC secretary-general Thawil, who returned to the position after the Administrative Court ruled that Yingluck had abused her power by removing him, said that he was not the factor behind the violence.

"I have checked with all concerned agencies and learnt that the attempts to create trouble in the deep South still exist," he said. "There is nothing abnormal … but it does not mean that I will do nothing to solve the problem."

But it was unrealistic to expect that he could solve the chronic problems alone, he said.

An intelligence source said the main problem was that many urban areas were vulnerable to attack, with areas in the deep South strategically divided into three zones.

Urban zones were taken care of by security volunteers, police were in charge of areas that connected between urban and rural areas while the military took care of jungle and mountainous areas.

The Fourth Army Region Commander Walit Rojanapakdi was aware of the security loophole and was seeking ways to fix it, the source said.

However, operational officials on the ground disagreed, saying the main problem was disunity among responsible agencies.

Government agencies always had problems with line of command, budgets and coordination issues, they said.


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