Prayuth Grants Himself Power to Impose Curfew on Deep South

A Nov. 7, 2019, photo of a funeral of one of the 15 people killed in checkpoint attack in Yala province.
A Nov. 7, 2019, photo of a funeral of one of the 15 people killed in checkpoint attack in Yala province.

BANGKOK — Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha granted himself an authority to impose curfew on certain areas of the restive southern border provinces as the head of a government counterinsurgency agency.

The order delegates the decision of declaring curfew to the director of the Internal Security Operation Command, a position held by PM Prayuth. The measure is intended to “prevent, contain, and manage the situation in the area where there are threats to national security in an orderly and effective manner.”

Although the announcement did not mention any specific cause for changes, it came days after an attack at a security checkpoint in Yala that killed 15 people on Tuesday night.

PM Prayuth told reporters he is not planning to impose any curfew, but said some areas might be closed for investigations into the raid.

“I will try to make it short for measures announced in the order,” Prayuth said. “I don’t want the suspects to cross over to other areas.”

The order was signed by Prayuth himself and published in the Royal Government Gazette website. Apart from the power to declare curfew, the order also permits director and other appointed executives of the Internal Security Operations Command, or ISOC, to prevent individuals from entering or leaving venues related to security operations.

Government officials will also be required to assist ISOC authorities and its operations, though the order does not mention punishments should they refuse.

The order will be effective from Dec. 1, 2019 to Nov. 30, 2020 and will only cover Mae Lan district of Pattani province, Betong district of Yala province, Su-ngai Kolok, Sukhirin, and Si Sakhon districts of Narathiwat provinces, and Chana, Na Thawi, Thepha, and Saba Yoi districts of Songkhla province.