Troops patrolling Thai-Malaysian border

NARATHIWAT — Thai soldiers have been deployed to patrol the Thai-Malaysian border in Narathiwat and Yala provinces around the clock since May 12 to stop illegal border crossings and smuggling. 

Gen Chalermchai Sithisart, the army chief, said the deployment of soldiers in small teams from the 15th Infantry Division to patrol the border in Narathiwat and Yala is part of ongoing efforts to solve the insurgency problem in the southern border provinces.

The patrols are intended to block the smuggling of war materials, including ammunition and explosives, and to prevent llegal crossings by insurgents.

The army chief made the announcement on Sunday morning while on an inspection trip to the 2nd Border Defence Company of the Narathiwat Task Force 30 which is based at Ban Si Phangan in tambon Ko Sathon of Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district.

Gen Chalermchai stressed the need to beef up intelligence operations.  He said that during their patrol operations, the soldiers must also ensure the safety of the local people.  Their operations must be regularly assessed for efficiency, he added.

The army chief was accompanied on the trip by Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich, the 4th Army commander.

Sources said Gen Chalermchai approved the deployment of the border patrol teams, which began on May 12, after some members of the Islamic State (IS) were arrested in Malaysia, leading to fears of possible cooperation between the insurgents in South Thailand and IS.

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