Red Shirt adviser shot in head, critical

The chief military adviser of Thailand’s anti-government protesters was injured in the head, after an explosion and bursts of automatic gunfire were heard near Bangkok’s business district on Thursday night. Khattiya Sawasdipol, a suspended Army specialist in charge of security at an encampment occupied by thousands of “Red Shirt” demonstrators, was admitted to an intensive care ward after being shot in the head, the state Narenthorn Emergency Medical Service and medical sources said.
Khattiya, better known as “Seh Daeng” (Commander Red) enjoys a cult following among some Red Shirts and soldiers, but has been dubbed a “terrorist” by Thailand’s government, which accuses him of involvement in dozens of grenade attacks that have injured more than 100 people. “It’s a clear attempt to decapitate the Red Shirt military leadership,” said Anthony Davies, a security consultant with IHS-Jane’s.” “It’s a smart tactical move that will cause confusion in the Red Shirts’ military ranks and send a message to the leadership that if they don’t want to negotiate and come out, they can expect extreme consequences.”
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is under enormous pressure to end the two-month standoff in central Bangkok that has killed 29 people, wounded more than 1,000, paralysed parts of the capital and slowed growth in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy. The PM on Wednesday cancelled a proposed November 14 election under his “national reconciliation” plan and called off talks with protesters after they raised new demands. The 22-member Red Shirt leadership council is an amalgam of radical former Communists, academics and regional populists.

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