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Army eyes backup plan for security

The Fourth Army Region is preparing measures to maintain security in the South as the government considers scrapping an emergency decree that has placed restrictions in three provinces, according to region chief Lt Gen Santi Sakuntanak.

Last month, the cabinet extended the emergency decree in Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yalafor one month. The emergency decree is currently in force in these areas until Oct 17, except for Si Sakhon, Sungai Kolok, Waeng, and Sukhirin districts of Narathiwat; Yaring, Mayo and Mai Kaen districts of Pattani; and Betong and Kabang districts of Yala.

As the government is considering scrapping the decree for good, Lt Gen Santi, also director of Internal Security Operations Command Region 4, said the move may affect regional security.

The decree has eased the investigative process, leading to effective security work, he said.

If the government decides to only partially cancel the decree, Lt Gen Santi said Isoc will hold a discussion on which parts of the decree are necessary to ensure security.

He said Isoc would divide 22 districts in the three provinces into various colours — green, yellow and red — to show safe and dangerous areas and prioritise their needs.

If the government chooses to cancel the decree, he expects it will first be applied to green areas before gradually moving to others as security improves.

However, Isoc will accept the government’s decision to cancel the decree in all areas, he said, adding agents will push for the decree’s continuation if there is a security threat.

According to the 20-year national strategy, the decree is set to expire in 2027, he said.

However, rights groups are calling for the government to end the decree, which is deemed as repressive to locals.

According to the Intellectual Network Council of the Southern Border Provinces, the government has extended the decree every three months 73 times since 2005.

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