Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has said he is ready to take charge of national security and operations against insurgents in the deep South.
Chalerm: Does not support violence
Mr Chalerm said he is waiting for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to appoint him to oversee national security affairs as a replacement for former deputy prime minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa.
Gen Yutthasak was excluded from the cabinet in the recent reshuffle. His removal has raised questions about who will direct national security policies, including the establishment of a new command centre to deal with the southern insurgency.
Mr Chalerm said he expects the prime minister will issue orders delegating responsibilities to her deputy premiers shortly after the swearing-in ceremony before His Majesty the King.
The swearing-in ceremony normally comes within a week after the King endorses the new cabinet list. The King endorsed the new line-up on Sunday.
Mr Chalerm said he plans to appoint two retired generals with significant national security experience to help him manage the southern unrest. The two officers, Gen Thawatchai Samutsakhon and Gen Wannatip Wongwai, retired at the end of September.
Gen Thawatchai is former commander of the 2nd Army Region and Gen Wannatip is former commander of the 3rd Army Region.
The retired generals met Mr Chalerm yesterday at Government House to discuss the plan.
The pair was contacted by secretary to the prime minister Pol Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayutthaya, who also retired last month as deputy national police chief.
He has been assigned by the prime minister to work with Mr Chalerm, who is also in charge of drug trafficking suppression.
Pol Gen Panupong said that both Gen Thawatchai and Gen Wannatip have a wide range of experience dealing with different aspects of national security problems.
The generals were classmates with army commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Armed Forces Academics Preparatory School.
Mr Chalerm said he has already discussed his new role as national security chief with the army commander.
He added that he and Gen Prayuth understand each other well.
Mr Chalerm said he does not support the use of violence to solve problems in the deep South. He did not elaborate on details of his plan to bring peace to the region.
Meanwhile, an Islamic religious teacher, or ustaz, was shot dead in Pattani's Yarang district yesterday morning.
Police said the attack occurred about 7.45am at a junction on Highway 401 (Yala-Pattani) leading to Ban Sarong in tambon Khao Tum.
Mahama Ma-ae, 47, a religious teacher at Thamwitthaya Foundation School in Muang district of Yala province, was driving to the school in a pickup truck when he was overtaken by another pickup. One of the men sitting in the back of the truck opened fire with an M16 automatic rifle.
Mahama was struck by bullets in the head and body, and died on the spot. His vehicle and windshield were riddled with bullet holes.
Police are still investigating the motives behind the shooting.
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- Writer: Post Reporters