Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Thanathorn accuses retiring Army chief of failing to fulfil his promises

Oct 01. 2020
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By The Nation

Outgoing Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong failed to fulfil his promise of military reform in the aftermath of the Korat mass-shooting, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said.

The co-founder of Progressive Movement and former leader of dissolved Future Forward Party said not a single step has been taken towards reform in the 236 days since the soldier got his hands on military weapons and began shooting down civilians in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

In a Facebook post, Thanathorn said Apirat’s vow of introducing reform within 100 days was a lie, adding that the general had also failed to keep his promise of delivering documents detailing the concessions granted to private companies without bidding.

Cruel initiation practices still reportedly continue in military bases, he said, adding that low-ranking soldiers were still being abused and there was no sign of improvement.

The Korat shooter, who was caught in a property wrangle with his commanding officer, first shot the officer and two others at the military camp before stealing a Humvee to drive to the mall, where he killed three shoppers and took 16 hostages.

He also shot indiscriminately on his way to the mall and detonated a gas cylinder, claiming 12 lives. As many as 30 people were killed and 57 others injured in this incident. The soldier was shot down the following day.

In his post, Thanathorn said Apirat was a member of the elite, and used the Army to maintain power despite mismanagement of the Army resulting in civilian deaths.

The government, led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, was slammed by the public for allowing a soldier to easily get his hands on weapons leading to an unnecessary loss of lives.

General Apirat responded by saying legal steps will be taken to ensure weapons can no longer be stolen from military bases.

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