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Southeast Asia

Thailand closes southern border crossings to shut IS out

ASIA PACIFIC DAILY | Fri,2017-06-09


By APD writer Chen Jiabao

BANGKOK, June 8 (APD) -- The Thai government has closed down six border crossings in southern Thailand's Narathiwat, to prevent members of Islamic State (IS) from creeping into the country and illegal smuggling, Thai Public Broadcasting Service Thursday reported.

The closures of the six temporary crossings along a river near the Thai-Malaysia border have been implemented since Tuesday after an order issued by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Security of the Thai-Malaysia border has been tightened recently.

Thai soldiers have been deployed to patrol full time a long stretch of the Thai-Malaysian border in two southern provinces to stop illegal border crossings and arms smuggling since May 12.

The patrols came about following recent news that the authorities in Malaysia had captured several militants from the country who support the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and had been smuggling weapons from Thailand.

This led to fears of possible cooperation between the Muslim insurgents in South Thailand and the ISIS terror group, local media said.

Malaysian police last week said they had busted an ISIS-linked arms smuggling cell with the arrest of a third gang member.The cell had reportedly been smuggling weapons from Thailand and building up a stockpile for at least a year to prepare for attacks in Malaysia and abroad.

Sansern Kawekamnerd, government spokesman has sought for public understandings of the closures, saying that the action aims to step up national security.