Shot Red-Shirts leader Gen Khattiya said "not afraid to die" a day before

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Bangkok, May 14 (ANI): Renegade Major General Khattiya who is one of the leaders of the opposition Red-Shirts, said he was not afraid to die for a cause.

Speaking a day before he was shot in the head by a sniper while standing on a Bangkok Street, Khattiya said: "I'm not afraid of dying. They've marked my head. If I'm afraid, who will lead the Red Shirts?"

According to a Bangkok Post report, Khattiya he steadfastly refused to don protective gear inspite of repeated requests.

"Such dress would make me feel like one who fears death, and would prevent me from leading others who do not have protective clothing," was his rationale.

He also insisted he would not remove his soldier's uniform even though it made him a target, the paper reports.

"I'm a [Red-Shirt security] commander-in-chief, I can't fear anything," Maj Gen Khattiya, 59, said.

Maj Gen Khattiya also known as 'Sah Daeng' was inspecting security barriers near the Red-Shirt rally site, and addressing a group of foreign reporters when he was shot.

It was the second assassination attempt on him.

The Thai Government has branded him a top military-man gone 'rogue' and a terrorist following his unwavering support of Red-Shirt protests in which clashes with security forces have left 25 people dead and several injured.

Khattiya is a supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He had been instrumental in galvanizing support from former Para-military forces to protect the Red-Shirts rally site.

Anthony Davis, a security consultant with IHS-Jane's told Reuters: "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."

In the wake of his anti-establishment activities, dismissal proceedings against him were under way at the time of the incident. (ANI)

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