INTRODUCTION: The Thai army has launched a major campaign against communist guerrillas in Thailand's central highlands.
GV Highland army centre.
SV INTERIOR Women and children from hill tribe being vaccinated.
GV & CU Tractors and bulldozers laying road. (2 SHOTS)
GV Three soldiers with armed vehicle in background.
CU Soldier with machinegun
SV Officer giving instructions.
GV Helicopter flies over; GV helicopter base. (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU Gunners load machinegun-belt. (2 SHOTS)
GV Helicopter takes off.
The Communist Party of Thailand says it has some 11,000 guerrillas. The pro-Peking party has been fighting the government since 1965. At on stage Thai communists caused considerable security problems along the eastern border because they had sanctuaries inside Kampuchea. But those bases were lost to the guerrillas when the Vietnamese army intervened in Kampuchea.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Thai army has launched a major campaign against communist guerrillas in Thailand's central highlands. Some two thousand troops, supported by ranger commandos and volunteers, are seeking an estimated 600 to 700 armed guerrillas in an area 350 kilometres (217 miles) north of Bangkok, near the Laotian border.
SYNOPSIS: The remote area is the home of hill tribes who the authorities believe give aid to the communists. To try to break that support link, soldiers are relocating tribes people after checking them at processing centre. The government also plans to try to win the loyalty of villagers with gifts of land and agricultural aid.
A crucial goal for the army is the completion of a road to the heartland of the hill country. When finished, it will enable troops to pursue guerrillas swiftly, and to the easily supplied. But it has been under construction for two years and guerrilla efforts to halt the work have cost the lives of many soldiers.
Now the army plans a major hill-by-hill push to eliminate the insurgents. They have more than a dozen helicopters and three gunships to help them. The government has been trying to dissuade tribesmen from primitive slash-and-burn farming methods which have denuded some hill areas. But at the same time, the army is dropping phosphorous bombs on crops. That way they can starve the guerrillas out if the current campaign is unsuccessful.