Thailand prolongs emergency rule in restive south

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.

PTI



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

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