PAD suspects political motivation


The People’s Alliance for Democracy yesterday condemned the assassination attempt on co-leader Sondhi Limthongkul, who was shot and wounded by unidentified gunmen using assault rifles.

“The gun attack was barbaric, inhumane and politically motivated,” said PAD spokesman Suriyasai Katasila.

PAD leaders suspect certain political cliques conspired to shoot down Sondhi, said Suriyasai.

The shooting with assault rifles bore the hallmarks of work by men in uniform, as ordinary gunmen would not risk carrying out the job during emergency rule, he said.

He called for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to overhaul the personnel in charge of security affairs.

PAD co-leader Somkiat Pongpaiboon said the country had turned into a killing field, as indicated by Sondhi’s shooting.

The situation has become one of guerrilla warfare, involving teams of assassins for killings, he said.

Somkiat said the government had failed to ensure safety under its emergency rule.

He suggested the removal of the national police chief, military commanders, the director of the Armed Forces Security Centre and the director-general of the National Intelligence Agency.

PAD co-leader Pibhop Dhongchai said he found it hard to believe the military had no knowledge about the attack on Sondhi.

He said none of the PAD co-leaders would ask for protection from the government, preferring instead to rely on their own guards.

By The Nation
Published on April 18, 2009

PAD demands better security for its leaders

Backers don’t plan rally over attack on Sondhi

sonthi_hospital_2The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) yesterday called on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to offer better protection to its leaders just hours after top PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul narrowly survived an assassination attempt.

The alliance, however, assured that it would not call a mass rally in response to the attack.

PAD member Somkiat Pongpaiboon said the pre-dawn ambush which involved heavy weapons raised questions about the efficiency of those providing security. The assault took place despite the capital being under a state of emergency.

“How could heavy weapons get through troops and police who were deployed at every intersection? How could surveillance cameras in the area be out of order?

“This means the state mechanisms failed completely,” he said.

The PAD demanded replacements of the national police chief, the director of the National Intelligence Agency and the director of the Armed Forces Security Centre.

“In short, we demand changes to those responsible for security affairs. If not, the lives of the prime minister and the cabinet ministers would also be in danger,” he said.

The PAD suspects the attempt on Mr Sondhi’s life was politically motivated and intended to steer the country into anarchy.

PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said the attempt to cut down Mr Sondhi was related to his relentless campaign against the Thaksin regime which eventually culminated in its downfall.

He said the PAD refused to pinpoint the mastermind but believed the shooting was the work of men in uniform.

He called on the prime minister to take decisive steps and ensure a transparent police investigation into the case.

The PAD yesterday appealed to its supporters to remain calm and said its planned political rallies in the provinces would take place as scheduled.

Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a PAD ally, doubted the attempt on Mr Sondhi’s life was the work of the red shirts.

He said he suspected that men in uniform carried out the attack but there was a question as to who was the one who issued the order to silence Mr Sondhi.

“Don’t call them pros because it will only mislead the public into thinking the assailants were hired gunmen. They should be called weapons specialists,” he said.

He also echoed the PAD’s demands that some security-related positions needed new faces.

sehdangArmy specialist Khattiya “Seh Daeng” Sawasdipol said those involved in Mr Sondhi’s attack must have strong political clout.

“Hired gunmen would not take the job because Mr Sondhi is a high-profile person. Those who accepted the job must have strong back-up.”

Maj-Gen Khattiya, a self-professed PAD opponent, declined to analyse who would gain from Mr Sondhi’s death, saying Mr Sondhi had a lot of enemies and would probably know who were the people behind the attack.

Bangkok Post


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