Thailand plans to kill rebels in Muslim south

Agence France Presse

Bangkok, June 23:

Thailand plans to declare “violent zones” in Muslim southern provinces where security forces will seek to hunt down and kill Islamic insurgents blamed for a surge of deadly attacks, the defence minister said today. “At the moment, the violence is escalating more and more. They are killing indiscriminately, and the situation will continue until those militants are killed,” General Thammarak Issarangkura Na Ayutthaya said. Each district in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces will be declared either “violent” or “peaceful,” he told reporters after a special national security meeting to address the mounting bloodshed. The minister said a spate of beheadings this month was not necessarily the work of insurgents. The beheadings could have been committed by narco-traffickers, gangs of extortionists, or owners of illegal casinos with ties to the militants, he further said. Thammarak spoke after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra held a special meeting of his security chiefs, including the heads of the army, police, the National Security Council, the National Intelligence Agency, and the interior and defence ministries.