Retaliation a real fear in Thailand

The army is stepping up its
surveillance in fear armed men allied to hard-core protesters could launch
terror attacks in Bangkok and other provinces in revenge for the 19 May
crackdown, an army source says.

Intelligence reports and an
assessment of the situation in the wake of the rally have concluded there is a
real possibility of violent retaliation by groups who fled the protest site at
Ratchaprasong intersection after the military operation.

The revenge could be in the form of
car and motorcycle bombs, taking the lives of soldiers and government figures,
and arson attacks at locations which are symbols of the government and armed
forces. They could take place in the capital or the provinces.

Some red shirt politicians who have
connections in the three southern border provinces could hire insurgents from
the lower South to launch attacks in Bangkok, the source said.

The concerns have prompted
intelligence authorities to monitor the movements of suspected insurgents,
especially those who are already in Bangkok.

The is expected to decide Friday
whether a curfew placed on Bangkok and 23 other provinces last week will be
extended, or lifted as scheduled at 4am Saturday.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon
said earlier that although the curfew might end, the state of emergency law was
still necessary to allow security authorities to arrest so-called terrorists.

Defence Ministry spokesman
Thanathip Sawangsaeng said Gen Prawit had ordered soldiers to secure their
units and local government offices and to stay alert despite the end of the
riots.

Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva has plans to reconcile the country’s political divisions but
he has vowed there would be no compromise with terrorists, the defence minister
said.

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