ARMY CHIEF Gen. Narongphan Jitkaewtae said after 17 bomb and arson attacks took place in three southern provinces from last night till the wee hours of this morning (August 17) that there used to be more such incidents in the past and this wave of blasts does not seem aimed at destabilising this government as it moves into its last lap before the next election due in March 2023, Naewna newspaper said.
He added that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 is investigating the explosions at petrol stations and convenience stores in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces with the cause only being revealed after it is completed and as yet no report or details had reached him.
Asked whether precautionary measures will be stepped up, Gen. Narongpahn replied the army was already stepping it up but would just have to be more careful. All parties have to help each other then only will the situation continue to improve with there being no fatalities this time and only one person slightly injured.
Questioned whether the blasts were meant to pressure the government after peace talks were held earlier this month, Gen. Narongpahn said this was an old story and an old cause but the situation had improved for the most part.
He did not see this string of attacks as having been aimed at destabilising the government now that it has less than a year left of its four-year term pointing out they have occurred with the difference only being the timing.
He also did not see the significance of the total number of 17 attacks mentioning that there used to be more in the past.
Gen. Narongpahn declined to comment on the approach to the peace talks, saying he did not know the details as he was not part of the panel holding these talks.
Army Chief Gen. Narongphan Jitkaewtae. Both photos: Naewna