Thailand prolongs emergency rule in restive south
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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 20:49
Bangkok: Thailand on Tuesday extended emergency rule in three insurgency-plagued southern provinces until October as it struggles to quell unrest that has left more than 4,100 people dead in six years.

The cabinet agreed to retain the decree -- which would have expired on July 19 -- for another three months in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, government spokesman Supachai Jaismut told reporters.

"This law is still crucial for enabling security officials in the south to do their jobs," Supachai said.

The extension means the army will keep special powers, including the ability to detain suspects for questioning without charge.

Imposed in mid-2005, the state of emergency has now been prolonged 20 times.

The southern region was once an autonomous Malay sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed it a century ago, provoking decades of tension that flared up into the current unrest.

Insurgent attacks by a shadowy mix of Islamist and separatist militants, have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims since January 2004, with shootings, bombings and gruesome killings such as beheadings and crucifixions.

Rights groups have warned that alleged abuses by the security forces in the region, including the treatment of detainees, risk stoking the conflict.


First Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 20:49

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