Several shots fired by unidentified gunmen have rattled parts of Thailand’s capital, prompting deployment of troops, even as the embattled government sought U.N.’s mediation to end the persisting political crisis.
The shooting at four sites in the central commercial area of Bangkok continued for two hours and was stopped after troops moved in to the areas. No casualty was reported.
Last week’s violence claimed the lives of five persons, including four children, and injured several others.
The spike in violence with almost daily reports of gunshots and grenade blasts prompted caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul to seek UN’s mediation to resolve the country’s four-month chaos.
He said he spoke with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on phone and sought his advice on how to resolve Thailand’s political impasse.
“If we could bring the UN in to initiate talks, a solution to the conflict in Thailand might be reached. I will propose this idea to a meeting of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CPMO),” said Mr. Surapong, an adviser to the CMPO.
He said the UN chief would be the most suitable person to find a way out for Thailand now that the conflicts had worsened, resulting in the deaths of four children.
“When disputes arose in countries like Syria, Ukraine, Egypt or Rwanda, the UN was too late (in reaching the countries). If we get advice early enough, Thailand should be able to solve the problems,” Mr. Surapong said.
Premier Yingluck Shinawatra, who on Tuesday turned down the protesters’ key demand to step down, flew to the northern city of Chiang Rai to inspect government-backed projects.
She has been summoned by an anti-graft panel on Thursday to hear charges of neglect of duty in connection with a rice subsidy scheme that the opposition says is rife with corruption. But Ms. Yingluck said she might not attend the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) hearing.
Since November 2013, when the anti-government protests began, 70 attacks against demonstrators left over 20 people dead and 720 injured. Police have not yet arrested any single suspect.
The protesters accuse Ms. Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Mr. Thaksin who was ousted in a coup in 2006. He lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to escape a jail term on a corruption conviction.