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NEWS - Army uneasy over border incu

Subject: NEWS - Army uneasy over border incursions

The Nation - May 14, 1999


Army uneasy over border incursions

ARMY chief Gen Surayuth Jalanont said yesterday the attack on Nam Phieng
police station in Mae Hong Son province two weeks ago was carried out by
foreign force intruding from Burmese soil.

He also said as far as he is concerned, no Thais were willingly involved
the attack, but some of them may have been forced to act as scouts in
leading the way for the unidentified force to the border police station.

Later, Supreme Commander Gen Mongkhol Ampornphisit said he felt very
about the frequent incursions by foreign forces into Thai territory, and
that the armed forces and police would have to carry out certain
measures to
deal with the problem.

Speaking after a meeting at the Defence Ministry, Mongkhol said 11
incursions were reported in recent months and none of the intruders was
officially identified by the authorities.

He said diplomatic action was taken by the Foreign Ministry to notify
Burmese authorities of Thailand's concern, but this may not have been
to settle the problem.

According to initial police reports, a group of unidentified armed men
forced three Thai villagers at gunpoint to lead the way to the station.
men then opened heavy fire on the police building. A Karen-language book
ammunition shells from weapons used by Burmese minority groups were
found at
the scene.

National Security Council head Khachadpai Burusapatana said long-term
solutions were needed to solve the security problem along Thai-Burmese
border, especially in areas such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong

Democrat MP Panya Chinakham, the only provincial MP, yesterday called
temporary closure of border checkpoints in Mae Hong Son until the issue
settled completely or, he said, a permanent solution should be found if
problem persists.

Earlier, the House committee on military affairs suggested that the
Ministry should intensify its diplomatic moves against Burma as that
country's denials that it was not involved in previous incursions into
territory was inadequate without evidence to back their claims.