Thai military targets unrest with strategy

July 3, 2006 at 8:34 PM
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BANGKOK, July 3 (UPI) -- The Royal Thai Army will use political tactics to calm unrest in southern Thailand rather than rely only on military means, a report says.

The Thailand news agency reported that Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, commander in chief of the army, has said the military will implement strategies to calm the rampant civil unrest in the provinces of Narathiwat, Pattan and Yala.

"Reports that Gen. Sonthi will emphasize on military operations in tackling the southern unrest are groundless," an army spokesman, Col. Akra Thiproj, said. "Instead, Gen. Sonthi intends to focus on political approaches, not military action alone, in solving the southern problems."

Working with the National Intelligence Agency and the ministries of education, interior and justice, the army's strategy will focus on conveying the government's message to the public, the report said.

Sonthi was recently named the country's top decision maker for its southern provinces by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the agency said.

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