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Southeast Asia
Two soldiers, two police killed in southern Thailand
2013-01-12
Two soldiers providing protection for teachers and two police officers were killed in separate attacks in Pattani province on Friday.

Soldiers were patroling a rural road in Yarang district when a buried homemade bomb blew up under their vehicle. Both soldiers were killed and forensic police were inspecting the scene.

Meanwhile, two highway police were gunned down by suspected terrorists insurgents at 9 p.m. yesterday in Pattani's Sai Buri district. A source said the officers were killed while patroling on a local road.

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the government's peace process for the deep South was on the right track.

After his return from a three-day visit to Malaysia, he told reporters that details of his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak were confidential.It has been reported Mr Najib promised to help Bangkok solve the insurgency in Thailand's deep South.

Mr Chalerm said, "Talks must be held. If [the insurgents] don't listen to us, we have to find and ask for help from people to whom they will listen."

He refused to say how Malaysia viewed the insurgency in the southernmost provinces. He said, "It is confidential, but we talked a lot and it's so far so good."

The deputy prime minister said the military has not been left out of the loop. Army commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was aware of every step of his visit to Malaysia, he said.

Mr Chalerm said he is seeking a meeting with former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is in charge of Thai-Malaysian border economic development. Details about that meeting have not yet been confirmed.

Mr Chalerm said there is concern about Thais working in a restaurant chain in Malaysia which has been linked with financing for the southern terrorists separatists. Out of more than 150,000 Thais employed in Malaysia by the Tom Yum Kung restaurant chain, only 6,900 are legally registered. The remainder are mostly employed as waiters and waitresses, he said.

Mr Chalerm said if the Thai workers at the restaurants are registered, they will get better pay, making them less vulnerable to overtures by terrorists separatists. He said, "[With better livelihoods], they will be able to say no if they are urged to do bad things."

The operators of the restaurant chain have denied supporting the rebels.

After his planned talks with Mr Mahathir, Mr Chalerm's plans to visit Indonesia. A source said he intends to ask Indonesia to act as a mediator in the insurgency.
Posted by:ryuge

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