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Suthep denies seeing Prayuth

Posted by arnon_k On June - 15 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on Wednesday strongly denied as untrue a report that he met army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who yesterday appeared on television calling on voters to turn out in force to elect “good people” in the July 3 election.

He said the report was fabricated by some deceitful people to discredit the army chief.

On Gen Prayuth’s explanation of of his standpoint that the military must remain neutral in the election, Mr Suthep it was useful and could be taken as a message to those who had a bad attitude toward the army.

Asked to comment on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s pledge to step down as the Democrat leader if the party wins fewer than the 165 House seats it won in the 2007 election, Mr Suthep said he also would resign as party secretary-general if this happens.

“I would be ready to resign too if we are beaten by those who set fire to the country,” he said.

The army spokesman this morning also said Gen Prayuth had not met Mr Suthep.

Separatist violence in the deep South is being orchestrated from abroad, says army commander-in-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

He made his remarks yesterday before departing for the South to evaluate the army’s efforts to contain the violence.

Gen Prayuth said the problems in the far South were more complicated now after a number of groups had entered the fray in the restive region.

He would not identify the groups, saying the information was top secret. But he stressed that foreign organisations were exerting control over political groups or illicit business groups, enticing them to collude in stirring up unrest.

“We’ve been trying our best to contain the problem, as you can see from the number of suspects we’ve detained in drug and oil smuggling cases,” he said.

Gen Prayuth added that the army would withdraw troops from the South it had brought in from other regions only if the situation improved significantly and if the 4th Army was capable of ensuring security there on its own.

The army has deployed soldiers from other regions in the far South but it plans to eventually leave the area in the hands of the Pattani-based 15th Infantry Division and the 4th Army.

Pulling out those troops who came from other regions would happen only when the 15th Infantry Division is fully equipped with the soldiers and commanders it is supposed to have.

If the army withdraws those soldiers early, it would take five to six years to bring them back if the southern violence flares up again, Gen Prayuth said.

He brushed aside criticism that deployment of troops from other parts of the country had resulted in fragmented operations in the deep South, saying that all soldiers there were under the control of the same army commander.In Narathiwat, background checks of three militant suspects killed on Thursday during a gunfight with security forces on a mountain covering Bacho and Raman districts indicated they were suspected leading members of the militant Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) separatist movement.

They were identified as Roya Kalamo, Lukfi Taye and Hare Chemu. Roya and Hare were both allegedly trainers of RKK guerillas and Lukfi a bomb maker.

Prayuth: No order to vote Democrat

Posted by arnon_k On June - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The commander of a military camp in Sakhon Nakhon had not ordered his soldiers to vote for the Democrat Party, as claimed by Pheu Thai, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha insisted on Friday.

Gen Prayuth was responding to an allegation by Pheu Thai party list candidate Natthawut Saikua that the provincial military unit’s commander had ordered his men to cast their votes in advance and that they must vote for candidates of the Democrat Party.

“The accusation is baseless. I checked. No such order was issued.

“There is only preparation to make it easier for soldiers to exercise their voting right, as allowed by the law,” he said.

Gen Prayuth said he does not want to enter into a war of words, which would be difficult to end, but he had to respond to the allegation as it could damage the army’s image.

“Please don’t drag the army into the political conflict for political gain,” he said.

The army chief called on people to make their own judgement who was lying and was telling the truth. He did not want a quarrel with a shepherd boy,

He said the country can move forward only through the enforcement of the law, not by mob rule.

Prayuth: Troop cuts must be mutual

Posted by arnon_k On May - 11 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Army commander-in-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said Wednesday he would never order the withdrawal of Thai soldiers stationed near the disputed areas on the border with Cambodia unless there is a reciprocal withdrawal by Phnom Penh’s forces.

“Why do we both remain in the disputed areas?” he said.

“The answer is because one side has broken the rules and the other was left with no choice but to deploy troops to fight to protect its territorial sovereignty,’’ he said.

“If Cambodia does not withdraw its troops, we won’t either. This is the rule and our superiors have also instructed us to do it this way,’’ said Gen Prayuth.

Gen Prayuth said he had a meeting with his visiting Malaysian counterpart General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin in Bangkok on Tuesday, but the Malaysian army chief said little about the border dispute.

Gen Zulkifeli said only that he would respect whatever decision was eventually made by Thailand and Cambodia, because it was an internal issue between the two countries and Asean was not be able to intervene, said Gen Prayuth.

It was a problem between Thailand and Cambodia and the two nations should try to resolve it through dialogue, Gen Zulkifeli said, according to Gen Prayuth.