Several retired senior military officers summoned in move to curb influence
May 24, 2014 00:00 By The Nation
The list of people summoned by the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) includes several retired senior military officers who are believed still to wield power and have the potential to recruit men and acquire weapons.
This move is seen as a precaution against possible efforts to mobilise armed resistance against the power seizure announced by the military on Thursday.
The first three names in the list are retired General Pallop Pinmanee and brothers General Trairong and General Thuanthong Intharathat, all of whom are known for their close ties with fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and apparent willingness to do his bidding.
The other retired officers in the list are Air Chief Marshal Sukampol Suwannathat, General Prin Suwannathat and Air Chief Marshal Sumeth Phomanee, who were all Thaksin’s Class 10 mates of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School. These men are believed to have had control over the so-called red-allied “watermelon” officers and also allegedly have armed civilians under their command.
Pallop, a former commander of the influential Internal Security Operations Command, is known for switching his loyalties from Chamlong Srimuang to Thaksin after the former took a stand against the fugitive billionaire. Pallop also served as an adviser to Thaksin’s younger sister Yingluck while she was serving as prime minister.
Also on the list is former deputy police chief police General Salang Bunnag, who reportedly advised Thaksin on most major issues despite not having armed men under his control. Another key person summoned is former captain Thammanas Promphao, who is said to be retired General Trairong’s right hand and has close ties with red-shirt groups in Phayao province, where his wife hails from. A former murder suspect, Thammanas has been active in arranging red-shirt gatherings and providing security.