Army Denies Risks Linked to Arming Volunteer’s in South
BANGKOK – Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari yesterday dismissed concerns that Army weapons delivered to civil-defence volunteers in the southern border provinces could fall into the hands of insurgents.
He said that apart from receiving military training, the volunteers helped boost the strength of communities and had been told to store and maintain the weapons using the same practices as the military and police.
Colonel Winthai Suvari said the Army was satisfied with the performance of the volunteers.
Because the volunteers were mostly recruited from native villages, they have more knowledge of their communities than security forces dispatched to the region from other areas, he noted.
It is likely that the Army will replace more security forces with volunteers.
Winthai said the volunteers needed to be given arms,not only for self-defence but also to protect villagers, because insurgents tended to use violence against the innocent.
“If they do not have suitable arms, these volunteers may not work efficiently,” he said.
Colonel Winthai Suvari said the military would not instruct volunteers to stage offensive assaults, which were normally carried out by security forces. – The Nation