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The Thai junta leader has invoked his absolute power to establish a ‘front-line cabinet’ working directly under the junta’s supervision to resolve conflicts in Thailand’s restive Deep South.

The Royal Gazette website on 15 September 2016 published National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Head’s Order 57/2016.

The order was authorised by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, using Section 44 of the Interim Constitution, which gives the regime absolute power.

Under the order, the PM will directly appoint government representatives to the front-line cabinet.

The front-line cabinet will coordinate with the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and the Southern Border Province Administration Centre (SBPAC), two military agencies currently working on the Deep South conflict, and also the Steering Committee to Solve Deep South Conflicts.  

The cabinet will comprise a Deputy Minister and experienced retired military officers and civil servants.

Prayut, however, has not revealed how many members will be in the front-line cabinet.

Earlier, the junta head also rejected news that the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) was responsible for the recent bombing of a school in the far south and also bomb attacks in seven provinces of the upper south on Thailand’s Mothers’ Day. Prayut said the news source is not credible, reported Matichon Online.

The BRN is the largest armed insurgent group operating in the restive Deep South. The group had revealed to local Benar News that they were behind the recent bombings, saying the attacks were the group’s response to the lack of progress in peace talks between the Thai government and MARA Patani, an umbrella group representing various rebel groups and factions in the Deep South.

Predominantly Muslim Malay, the region, composed of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla, has been pervaded by armed conflict for the past decade which has claimed almost 6,500 lives.

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