Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Sunday that his government has restructured the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) with the objective to make it more efficient in order to end the ongoing violence in Thailand's restive deep South.
Under Cabinet approval, the position of director of SBPAC will be equivalent to permanent secretary of ministry and report directly to the prime minister, he said.
The SBPAC used to report directly to the military.
Most importantly, the role of SBPAC will focus on development and offering justice to the residents of the troubled region instead of suppressing the insurgency as in the past, said Abhisit.
Representatives of the people will be allowed to participate in meetings while a so-called 'People Council' will be set up to oversee whether government officials have abused their power. Officials found to have abused power will be punished, he said.
The national government has been sending 4,000 new batches of soldiers to protect the estimated two million Muslims living in the southern provinces and that they are interested in forging cooperation with the international community for intelligence gathering and coordination.
Unrest continues to plague Thailand’s Southern Malay-Muslim dominated provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, as well as some parts of Songkla province. On early Sunday morning, unidentified gunmen on two pick-up trucks sprayed bullets into a security checkpoint in Thailand's southern border province of Narathiwat early Sunday morning, killing two soldiers and injuring two other soldiers and a policeman.
Bangkok Post, POST BAG: Southern peace a civil matter, 23 August 2009, http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/22543/southern-peace-a-civil-...
Xinhua News, Thai PM says to focus efforts on development, justice in S Thailand, 23 August 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-08/23/content_11931252.htm
The Peninsular, Thai ethnic violence an internal problem: PM, 20 August 2009, http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&sub...