Threats against national security not over yet: Thai army

The Royal Thai Army has warned that violence could return in the form of political dissidents possessing weapons stolen from the army during the 2010 political violence.

On 3 September 2016, Col Winthai Suvaree, a spokesperson of the Royal Thai Army, announced that authorities are currently trying to retrieve weapons that were stolen during the April–May 2010 political violence, BBC Thai reported.

He said that the stolen weapons could be used by certain groups of political dissidents to stage violent incidents.

The army spokesperson specified that during the 2010 political violence 86 guns from the army were stolen, but authorities have managed to bring back 29 guns.

Gen Chalermchai Sittisart, Commander of the Royal Thai Army, also confirmed publically that the army is concerned about possible violence and will keep track of suspicious groups.

In early September, Thailand’s junta leader enacted an order halting the trial of civilians charged with crimes against national security in military courts, reasoning that instability and threats against national security have subsided.

But Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the deputy junta head and Defence Minister, subsequently said that if ‘control’ slips out of the NCPO’s hands and ‘instability’ returns, the regime could nullify the order at any time.

Comparing the 2010 political violence with the violence that broke out between 2013–2014, Winthai said that the main targets of the latter were participants in the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

The makers of Thailand’s 2014 coup, led by current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, have cited violence and possible clashes between anti-establishment red-shirt demonstrators and PDRC protesters as the primary justification for their coup d’état.

The Defence Minister added then that the regime still has Section 44 of the Interim Constitution, which gives the junta absolute power to handle ‘conflicts’.

Col Winthai Suvaree (centre), spokesperson of the Royal Thai Army