Army leader warns politicians to cease continual quarreling

Army leader warns politicians to cease continual quarreling

Army commander-in-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday sent a message to politicians, warning that the public is tired of their continual quarreling, which is causing no end of trouble for the people.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha visits an army market at Samsen on Monday, where he spoke out on the military reshuffle and warned politicians the people are tired of their continual confict. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

"They'd better watch out. The people are the ones who are troubled by their ongoing quarrels,'' Gen Prayuth told reporters in a clear reference to the political conflict.

But the army chief also reiterated his position of opposing any military interference in political affairs, and allowing no outside influence on army affairs.

Gen Prayuth was speaking only three days ahead of the seventh anniversary of the military coup on Sept 19, 2006 that removed Thaksin Shinawatra from power. Lessons should be learned to ensure there is never  another coup, added the army leader, who will retire next year.

He denied there was any political interference into the recent military reshuffle, which sees  Lt-Gen Thirachai Nakvanich, army deputy chief-of-staff, promoted to 1st Army Region commander from Oct 1.

Lt Gen Walit Rojanapakdi, the commander of the 1st Army Corps, was tipped as a favourite for the position. His missing opportunity stirred criticism that his role in supressing a political rally in 2010 blocked his promotion.

Lt Gen Walit led the army in clashes with the red-shirts in 2010, during which he was seriously injured. He was reportedly blocked from taking command of the 1st Army in the previous major reshuffle last September.

However, Gen Prayuth rejected speculation, saying he took full responsibility for the latest reshuffle and that there was no pressure from outsiders influencing his decision.

"I was the one who made the decision. What's wrong with that?'' he said.

Lt Gen Thirachai graduated with Class 14 of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and Lt Gen Walit was in Class 15.

A soldier from Class 14 should be given the first chance, he added.

The annual military reshuffle received royal endorsement on Sunday, with job changes and promotions involving 861 senior positions to take affect on Oct 1.

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