2. N + to V.P.
No end to the woes in South
Security forces are going through a far too familiar routine in the wake of a murderous attack on an army base in the deep South. Last week's raid on a remote and exposed base in the Narathiwat mountains left four soldiers dead and six wounded. The raiders took away all the arms at the base - reported at first as a minor armoury, but later as only personal weapons.
The army has sent out major units to comb the rugged area in case they can find the attackers or other militant gangs. Seven youths have been detained for questioning, and one is being held for an indefinite period. Police are seeking warrants to arrest three suspects who may have had a role in the attack.
The army patrols, the promises to increase security at bases, the arrests and interrogations - all have been seen before. Fourth Army Commander Lt Gen Udomchai Thammasarorat is calm and reassuring. The army is winning the conflict in the South, he told this newspaper. Soldiers have never done anything to upset local residents in the four provinces where violence broke out more than six years ago. In last week's raid, "we admit we were rather careless," he said, but security will be tightened up.
The interview by Lt Gen Udomchai has become familiar over the years. Similar words were spoken by many of his predecessors commanding the 4th Army Region in the 1970s and 1980s, and again during the past decade. It is almost as familiar as the failures of successive governments in the same time period - to address the complaints of southerners and to seize control of a perplexing, largely political problem that has caused thousands of deaths and uprooted tens of thousands of lives in the region.
The attack on Jan 19 was a daring one by the gangs which have sought for years to terrorise the people of the South and to frustrate the army's effort to keep the area safe. It is deeply troubling that the extremists managed to put together a platoon sized military force in Rangae district of Narathiwat without being detected. Their leaders armed the men with a variety of weapons including automatic rifles, trained them and planned an attack on an army base. The camp may have been small by some standards, but the Ror 15121 unit was charged both with security of the area and with maintaining a government presence in a locale where militants were known to operate. The slain commander of the base was well known for his efforts to work with local communities. This could even have been the motive of the attackers, for the extremists are discredited by every friendly contact between the government and the southern villagers.
The armed forces can point to various successes in the South. But the truth is that the best it has achieved in the past six years has been occasional periods where the killing and terrorist-type attacks have decreased. Murders, bombings and assassinations by the extremist gangs has never halted. All-out suppression has failed to stop the killing, let alone achieve any sort of viable peace in the deep South.
The long suffering people of the South deserve a better effort from the government and military alike. For years, the government has been bereft of ideas of how to approach the deep and murderous problems in the South. The army has failed to gain better information which could serve to stop major raids such as the shocking one last week. It is impossible to see that the army is winning the southern conflict. All evidence indicates that the best case is only that the security forces are not losing.
1.Who was involved in the news?
- Security forces
2. What happened?
- left four soldiers dead and six wounded
3. When did it happen?
- January26, 2011
4. Where did it happen?
- Narathiwat mountains
5. Why did it happen?
- In the wake of a murderous attack on an army base in the deep south.
By Bangkok Post
Published: January26, 2011 at 12:00 AM