‘Exercise caution in southern Thailand’

Under control: Authorities are monitoring the security situation in Narathiwat (pictured) as well as Pattani, Yala, and Songkhla provinces. —ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

NARATHIWAT: Malaysians residing in or visiting southern Thailand have been advised to remain vigilant and exercise caution at all times in light of coordinated attacks by suspected insurgents in four southern provinces of the country.

Malaysian Consul-General in Songkhla, Ahmad Fahmi Ahmad Sarkawi, said so far the situation in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla provinces is under control, and the local security authorities are doing their utmost to monitor the situation and make efforts to arrest those responsible for the attacks.

Ahmad Fahmi advised Malaysians in the provinces to exercise extra caution and take extra precautions in light of the recent developments.

“Follow the advice and the latest developments from local authorities when you are in these provinces,” he said when approached by reporters after attending a breaking fast event at the Maruebo Tok Municipal Council office here on Friday.

Ahmad Fahmi highlighted the ongoing trend of attacks that have been happening for years, particularly noting an increase in activities during Ramadan in the provinces.

“One reason for this could be to remember past events, but they also want to make people aware,” he said.

He said the attacks, to some extent, hinder Malaysian entrepreneurs from investing in the region and disrupt development progress in the region.

He said the Malaysian Federal Government aspires to facilitate peace talks between the Thai government and the insurgents.

“God willing, the peace talks could continue, and peace can finally be a reality in this region,” he said.

Ahmad Fahmi was responding to a journalist’s question about the latest attack in Thailand’s deep south, where suspected insurgents staged coordinated attacks and committed arson in at least 39 locations across four provinces.

One of the attacks reportedly killed a worker at a popular convenience store in Pattani following explosions caused by homemade bombs.

According to a local news agency, the attacks occurred on the10th day of Ramadan, around 1am on March 22.

A total of 20 attacks were reported in Pattani, 11 in Yala, six in Narathiwat, and two in Songkhla.

Colonel Ekwarit Chobchuphon, of Thailand’s Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 Forward Command, previously stated that the attacks during Ramadan could coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Tak Bai crackdown on Muslim insurgency in Narathiwat province.

Known throughout Thailand’s deep South as the “Tak Bai massacre”, the events of Oct 25, 2004, remain one of the deadliest incidents in the Malay-Muslim rebellion against Thai state rule.

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