Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday he had no doubt that violent attacks by insurgents would continue in the deep South, despite the agreement on peace talks with an insurgent group.
Prayuth was reacting to a motorcycle bomb attack in Yala that killed two military rangers and wounded many others on Saturday.
Prayuth said the attacks were certain to continue in the southern border provinces because many new insurgent groups had been formed – groups that would not take orders from the group that signed a peace-talks deal with Thailand on Saturday.
In a landmark agreement brokered by Malaysia, the Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) rebel group agreed to start talks aimed at ending the conflict.
But Prayuth said the new insurgents groups had broken away from the BRN, which signed the contract, and the BRN was apparently seeking a political role. “They have been abandoned for a long time,” Prayuth added.
Prayuth said Army intelligence agencies had learned several new rebel groups had been formed. Although the groups shared the same ideology, they wanted to have power and would not listen to the BRN, which was an old group, Prayuth said. “The fighting will definitely not cease,” Prayuth said.
However, he said it was a good sign that the Thai and Malaysian governments had signed an extradition deal.
He said police and troops would have to continue stepping up security measures in the deep South. He also begged for moral support from the public for security officials there.
The Army chief still supported the holding of peace talks with insurgent groups because they were also Thais. “So far, no foreigners have ever been arrested. Only Thais have been arrested,” Prayuth said.