Statesman and Privy Council chairman Gen Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday
urged the government to heed his message and turn it into action
in an attempt to put an end to violence in the deep South. The
former prime minister told about 2,000 representatives from 93
civic groups at the Provincial Administration Organisation that
the key to success in tackling problems in the restive South was
the continued implementation of a policy based on ''understanding
and development''. All agencies concerned were advised to focus
on justice, virtues, morals and freedom of thought and expression
in order to win the people's trust.
said he was delighted to see many people gather in a bid to find
ways to fight the insurgency and pledge to bring peace back to
the deep South and called on Thais to give their moral support
to people in the South and hope for peace there.
a southern native. Violence in the three southern border provinces
is not a big or complicated problem but a matter of antipathy,
disgrace, injustice and misunderstanding between the instigators
and us,'' said Gen Prem, who was born in Songkhla, a province
urged Muslims, particularly those in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat
to apply the virtues of Islam for the benefit of the country and
try to ensure that greater understanding about religious principles
be spread among the people, including extremists. The statesman
also led the participants in pledging to create peace in the far
our will today is the only and final way to bring peace back to
the South. I hope we can make it. If not, we will reach a dead
end. Hopefully, it will not end up like that. I hope love and
understanding will lead the way in bringing peace back,'' Gen
said the declaration and his advice ''must be heard'' by the government.
''On hearing them, the government should translate this into action
because the government always states that it wants peace to return
to the South as soon as possible,'' he said.
also explained that Their Majesties the King and Queen had deep
concerns for all Thais and wanted those involved to reconcile
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, the prime minister's chief adviser who
was responsible for organising yesterday's ceremony, said that
Gen Prem had always been concerned about the problems in the deep
South and hoped for peace there. ''This is a proactive political
strategy because we need to have political and peaceful strategies
leading military ones,'' he said.
the ceremony, Abdullahman Abdulsomat, chairman of the coordinating
centre for the deep South's provincial Islamic committees, and
Mahama Aneemuna, chairman of the civic group for peace in the
far South, led all the participants in taking an oath.
of us are willing to cooperate in every way to create peace in
the three southern border provinces urgently,'' he said and joined
the others in signing a declaration before presenting it to Gen
violence in the South continued. Two border patrol police were
shot dead at a busy weekend market in Yala by gunmen who escaped
on a motorcycle after throwing spikes and fake bombs on the road
as they left. Later, in Yala's Muang district, four attackers
armed with pistols opened fire on a grocery store in Withoon Uthit
12 road, killing Sorayuth Singthong, 24, and Imron Jehlae, 25,
and injuring three others who were later taken to Yala Hospital.
Pattani's Muang district, village defence volunteer Toi Lanwong
was killed by a gunman while driving to a pig farm. Leaflets were
left behind by the attackers vowing to kill innocent people.
In a separate attack in the same district, insurgents armed with
.38-calibre pistols opened fire on a family of three Burmese,
including a one-year-old infant. The three were said to be in