Special report from Chularat Saengpassa – The Nation
“We have no idea what will happen next. The soldiers have been keeping a close eye on people going in and out of the village.”
Locals in parts of Pattani’s Nong Chik district now live in fear due to the strong military presence in their hometown.
“We are scared and don’t want to leave our home these days,” said Nuda, whose husband has been under military custody since Sunday.
In an unprecedented move, the Forward Command of the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 declared tambons Bang Khao and Tha Kham Cham of Nong Chik district as “special control zones” on Sonday. It’s the first time in a decade the declaration of a Special Control Zone has been made.
Residents in these zones are required to produce any weapons, ammunition and vehicles, including boats and motorcycles, they may possess for military examination at the Nong Chik District Office. They have until next Sunday to comply.
“We have no idea what will happen next. The soldiers have been keeping a close eye on people going in and out of the village,” Nuda added.
The forward command has taken drastic action in response to a recent attack on six rangers. On the night of September 11, six rangers were patrolling Tambon Bang Khao when more than 10 unknown gunmen opened fire on them. Though outnumbered, the rangers fought back until the gunmen retreated. Two rangers were killed and four injured in the incident.
Survivors said their attackers had disappeared into the forest, giving weight to a possible theory that the attackers might be locals, as they appeared to be familiar with the area.
The military has arrested eight suspects following the attack, including Nuda’s 28 year old husband.
“I don’t believe he took part in the attack as he works in a local factory and rushes home after work every day,” she said.
Nuda explained that she and her husband were dining with their children at home on Sunday night when more than 30 armed soldiers showed up, scoured the house and led her husband away.
“The soldiers took my husband around the house at gunpoint as they conducted a thorough search,” she recounted, adding that they even took away her phone, which made life difficult.
On Monday, she and some neighbours went to a local branch of the National Human Rights Commission to lodge a complaint and seek help.
Pornpen Kongkachornkiat, director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation, said she was worried about the blanket measures used by the military.
“It will only sow distrust,” she said.
“I have nothing against the attack being investigated, but I disagree with the measures the military is using.”
However, Fourth Army Region’s chief Lt-General Piyawat Nakwanich, who signed the order just two weeks ahead of his retirement, defended the measures taken.
“We are implementing these measures for people’s safety. The claims of persecution are invalid as we have taken action based on evidence,” he explained.
He added that four of the suspects had confessed to the crime and provided details about the incident.
STORY: The Nation
30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands
Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.
Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.
The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.
Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.
Whale freed by drilling team in Gulf of Thailand
On Saturday six drilling team members at Erawan offshore field spent about 30 minutes cutting a rope tied to the tail of a Bryde’s whale that apparently swam towards the structure seeking help, according to the Bangkok Post.
The rope was believed to have been tied to its tail by fishermen after the whale became trapped in a net, but the whale managed to escape, dragging the rope with it.
The rescue mission’s account was posted on Facebook and drew widespread praise. “Thumbs up for you guys. It wasn’t an easy job,” one commentator wrote.
The platform is about 140 kilometres off the shore of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
One worker, who filmed the operation, said it took place at 2pm on Saturday, and that all staff members were overjoyed to save the whale.
Photo: Nat Panupong Taps
Another staff at the platform said the whale was about five metres long and weighed 200 kilogrammes. The operation took around 30 minutes in rough seas before the team was finally able to cut the rope from the whale’s tail, he added.
Bryde’s whales have been sighted in many areas in the Gulf of Thailand, the latest one about two weeks ago off the central province of Prachuap Khirikhan. The Marine and Coastal Resources Department says the sightings indicate the richness of marine resources in the gulf.
In April, another drilling team from the same company rescued a stranded dog found at sea about 200 km from shore. The dog was later named Boonrod and adopted by a Chevron official working at the platform, who took the pet home with him to Khon Kaen province during his work leave.
Posted by Nat Panupong Taps on Saturday, 19 October 2019
Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain
The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.
(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)
“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”
For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.
Hua Hin’s five day forecast
Phuket’s five day forecast
Hat Yai’s five day forecast
SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com
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