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Government urged to review 5000 Rangers’ deployment in Southern Thailand


Public Statement Government urged to review the 5000 Rangers’ deployment to solve unrest in the Southern Border Provinces

It is obviously from ongoing unrest in the Southern Border Provinces that rangers have become involved both as victims of violence and being accused of perpetrating violence. The latest event took place on 29 January 2012, as an unidentified number of unknown insurgents have fired M79 grenades into the 4302 Ranger Unit based in Moo 3, Ban Nam Dam, Tambon Pulu Puyo, Nongchik District, Pattani. The rangers have then spread out to patrol the area during which a pickup truck carrying villagers en route to their prayers was shot at by the rangers. Four innocent people died and another four persons got injured as a result of the shootout. They are villagers of Moo 1, Ban Tan Yong Pulo, Tambon Pulu Puyo, Nongchik District, Pattani. Due to the shooting incidence, two companies of rangers including Ranger Unit 4302 and 4306 have received instructions to pull out of the area.

Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) would like to convey our deepest condolence to the victims and demand that a serious inquiry be conducted by both local inquiry officials and an independent committee to investigate into detail of the horrible saga and to bring the perpetrators to justice as well as to provide for adequate remedies of the victims and their families.

The policy to expand the deployment of rangers in the Southern Border Provinces has been reportedly pushed forward by the Ministry of Defence, the Fourth Army Area, and the Internal Security Operations Command Region (ISOC). Women and men from the age of 18-20 years have been recruited and training as rangers since the end of 2011. The number of rangers is planned to be increased to over 5,000 persons including 12 regiments of rangers and nine platoons of female rangers. They shall be the main forces to operate along with troops from the Infantry Division 15 in the Southern Border Provinces. In some instances, they shall replace the military forces. No reasons have been given as to why increased deployment of rangers is needed and neither relevant strategies have been explained as to how the new rangers shall help to cope with violent conflicts in the area.

Owing to a lack of clarity regarding the policy, CrCF urges the government to review the policy of increased deployment of rangers in the Southern Border Provinces. Demilitarization and disarmament should be the guiding policy instead of pursuing the recruitment of civilian women and men from the age of 18-20 years to train in a trimmed course of main military personnel. Given the complex situation of violence in the Southern Border Provinces and a general lack of trust among various groups of local population, the arm training and assignment of risky tasks to armed civilians to perform their duties as rangers may pave the way to human rights violation and abuses of law. Also, the personnel may lack experience to solve crisis and have no training on the Rule of Engagement and other international standards regarding the use of arms including the Basic Principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials. Agencies at the policy making level should place utmost importance on the loss of human resources at their young age and the invaluable loss of innocent people as a result of defective operation and a lack of supervision of superior officers

For more information, please contact Preeda Nakpew, phone 02-6934939

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