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Thaksin Takes Over Battle To End Muslim Unrest


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Thai PM Takes Over Battle to End Muslim Unrest

"I am now in charge of all national security matters"

BANGKOK: --Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Thursday he would take charge of efforts to end violence in the largely Muslim south, where nearly 360 people have been killed since violence erupted in January.

"I am now in charge of all national security matters," Thaksin told reporters when asked who would replace Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as the man responsible for such issues after a cabinet shuffle Wednesday.

"General Chavalit now will take care of the anti-drug campaign and poverty reduction," Thaksin said, before leaving for an Asia-Europe summit in Hanoi.

Most of those killed in the south, where separatists fought a low-key insurgency in 1970s and 1980s, have been civil servants and security officers from both the Muslim and Buddhist faiths. Many have been slain by motorcycle-borne gunmen.

The violence in the region near the Malaysian border erupted in January when gunmen raided an army camp, killed four soldiers and escaped with almost 300 M-16 rifles.

Thaksin said southerners, many of whom speak Malay, not Thai, may have to endure tighter security measures, including a ban on motorcycle pillion riding.

"Under current circumstances, when we need extra safety, people may have to have less convenience," he said.

The proposed ban came a day after Thaksin replaced Defense Minister Chetta Thanajaro, the second man to lose the job since the violence broke out.

Thaksin appointed a new military general this week with a mandate to run daily operations in the south, after reports of rifts among security agencies, which have failed to quell the unrest.

"We are starting to see unity of work among officials in the south and we hope they will move in the same direction to quell the daily killings," Thaksin said.

Despite Thaksin's optimism, a policeman and a village official were killed by gunmen riding pillion Wednesday and militants triggered a bomb planted on a security patrol truck Thursday, police said.

No one was hurt in the explosion, they said.

The government has blamed the attacks on oil and arms smugglers, drug dealers and some rural politicians who teamed up with separatists. But no suspected mastermind has been caught.

Security agencies have accused some Muslim religious boarding schools, known in Malay as pondok, of being breeding grounds for militancy. Some teachers have given their students military training, the agencies say.

--Reuters 2004-10-07

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"I am now in charge of all national security matters," Thaksin told reporters when asked who would replace Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as the man responsible for such issues after a cabinet shuffle Wednesday.

I hope he means only in regards to the violence in the south and its not a first step towards something else.... like extending the curfew in Bangkok

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Thai violence blamed on oil smugglers

A Muslim leader in southern Thailand says the violence there is largely due to criminals protecting oil smuggling operations, the Bangkok Post said Thursday.

Sawasdi Sukumalayasak, the country's top Muslim leader, said the oil mafia hired drug addicts to shoot officials that threatened their activities, knowing that Muslims would be blamed.

Sawasdi was speaking Wednesday in Laem Ngop, in the eastern province of Trat, at a ceremony to welcome former drug addicts back to society, the paper said.

The spiritual leader said the government should concentrate on creating jobs and easing racial and religious tension in the country's predominantly Muslim areas.

He said officials often regarded people in the three southernmost provinces as second-class citizens because they speak the Yawi dialect and are Muslim.

Sawasdi said Muslims were scapegoats in many cases, leading to religious conflict and providing cover for criminal elements.

--Big News Network.com 2004-10-07

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Thaksin said southerners, many of whom speak Malay, not Thai, may have to endure tighter security measures,

Will that become the new "throw-down" excuse to shoot someone? Same as the last drug war, when all the justification needed to kill someone was to thow-down a few ya-ba pills near the corpse.

Policeman #1: "What happened? How come you put three slugs in this man's head?

Policeman #2: "Well, I had no choice really. He was speaking Malay!"

Policeman #1: "Oh ok. Good work. Let's go have a drink."

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"General Chavalit now will take care of the anti-drug campaign and poverty reduction,"...

The punishment for dealing drugs is death. What is the punishment for being poor? How exactly do they plan to reduce poverty?

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hi'

mr supreme leader said !

you must comply with his supreme thoughts :o

muslim people have to be prepared for his supreme actions :D

is there anything that mr supreme leader doen't control yet?

you know ... freedom exists in a school book :D

francois

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Although he would really like to be in charge, he is too frightened to go down there and actually figure out what is wrong and to stay around long enough to get everything fixed. He ran away the last time there was a boom, boom, boom near him. In many countries, the generals who run the wars have actually been in the field. This is not the case with the new head of security. I am curious as to whom his new appointment will be.

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