Tight southern security ordered

Deputy army chief Udomdet Sitabutr Wednesday ordered intensified security measures in southern border provinces for Buddhist Lent and a period near the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Gen Udomdet gave the order via video conference with the southern Internal Security Operations Command, Isoc spokesman Col Banpot Pulpian said.

The spokesman said Gen Udomdet expressed concern about security in the far South during the three-month Buddhist Lent period and the latter part of Ramadan. The deputy army chief ordered effective intelligence and efforts to convince locals to help guarantee public safety in their neighbourhoods.

Buddhist Lent starts Saturday and ends Oct 8. Ramadan ends July 28.

Apart from intensified security measures, the meeting also emphasised continuous public outreach in the far South so local residents can understand operations by authorities, Col Banpot said.

Gen Udomdet also ordered subordinates to monitor the progress of local government offices in adjusting their operational plans to respond to security plans of the military.

The Isoc spokesman added that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the army and the National Council for Peace and Order, ordered the National Security Council to negotiate with representatives of southern insurgency movements to restore peace in the far South.

The peace-restoration process would begin with the creation of mutual trust and then proceed with agreement signing and drafting of a roadmap to sustainable peace, Col Banpot said.

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