It takes a nation to protect the nation
On 28 April 2004, more than 100 militants carried out terrorist attacks against 10 police outposts across Pattani, Yala and Songkhlaprovinces in southern Thailand. 32 gunmen retreated to the 425-year-old Krue Se Mosque, regarded by Muslims as the holiestmosque in Pattani.
General Pallop Pinmanee, commander of the Southern Peace Enhancement Center and Deputy Director of the Internal Security Operations Command, was the senior Army officer on the scene. After a tense seven hour stand-off, Pallop ordered an all out assault on the mosque. All of the gunmen were killed. He later insisted, "I had no choice. I was afraid that as time passed the crowd would be sympathetic to the insurgents, to the point of trying to rescue them."
It was later revealed that Pallop's order to storm the mosque contravened a direct order by Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to seek a peaceful resolution to the stand-off no matter how long it took. Pallop was immediately ordered out of the area, and later tendered his resignation as commander of the Southern Peace Enhancement Center. The forward command of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), which Pallop headed, was also dissolved. A government investigative commission found that the security forces had overreacted. The Asian Centre for Human Rights questioned the independence and impartiality of the investigative commission. On 3 May 2004 during a Senate hearing, Senator Kraisak Choonhavan noted that most of those killed at Krue Se Mosque had been shot in the head and there were signs that ropes had been tied around their wrists, suggesting they had been executed after being captured.
The incident resulted in a personal conflict between Pallop and Defense Minister Chavalit, who was also director of the ISOC. Pallop later demanded that the Defense Minister cease any involvement in the management of the southern insurgency.