Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday voiced concerns about some local leaders and political groups opting for violence to end the prolonged political conflict.
“There are several groups that talk about violence. You know which groups I am referring to. We need to look back and see what is causing the problem. If you can resolve the symptoms but not the cause, then you cannot end this crisis,” he said.
Prayuth also called on all sides to refrain from issuing threats or making remarks that might deepen the current impasse, adding that it would take time to remove the root cause of the problems faced by Thailand.
“As long as the conditions from which the conflicts originate remain, we cannot move forward. Don’t depend on the military to find a way out because we have to do our job of maintaining security,” he said.
Prayuth also threatened to file lawsuits against newspapers that published reports accusing him of not doing anything.
“I will take legal action against some papers that have published reports accusing me of doing nothing because I have allegedly accepted some interests. Nobody can ‘buy’ the military. We will not change no matter what is offered to us. Nobody wants so much power that one has to accept all sorts of offers.’’ he said.
He also warned different groups to refrain from widening ongoing conflicts, pointing out that respected senior figures had good intentions for the country, but were misunderstood due to miscommunication. “Look at their intention – whether they achieve their purpose depends very much on the mechanisms in place. There are legal and Constitution-related obstacles,” he pointed out.
Prayuth was referring to retired supreme commander Gen Saiyud Kerdphol’s announcment on Saturday that Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda had accepted his group’s plan to seek help from His Majesty to end the political crisis. Prem later had his aide deny this report, saying Saiyud had misunderstood the elder statesman.
Separately, Prayuth said he had informed the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order to look into allegations that former supreme commander General Chaiyasith Shinawatra had established a militia and was behind armed personnel being trained in Nakhon Ratchasima. “I am getting the Internal Security Operation Commands monitor and report to me about what kind of training is being done,” Prayuth said.
However, Chaiyasith has flatly denied the allegation, saying he had gone to Si Sa Ket province in the Northeast to visit old military colleagues.
Prayuth also said he would speak to the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order about its plan to adjust security measures for the capital by replacing soldiers with police.
“We have to find out if the police can ensure public safety without our support. I have no problems in working with anyone, I just want the country to be safe and sound,’’ Prayuth said.