Army says troops need protection against Khmer black magic.
Online news: Local News
Si Sa Ket : The Thai army believes it needs the help of talismans to protect itself from Cambodian soldiers.
The chief of the 2nd Army Friday distributed talismans to his troops to help protect them from evil curses which he believes Cambodians are likely to call upon in their fight over disputed border areas.
As a result, soldiers guarding the border with Cambodia are now equipped with arms, life-saving kits - and talismans.
Second Army chief Thawatchai Samutsakhon issued assorted talismans to soldiers stationed at the disputed border area near the Preah Vihear temple in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district to ward off Khmer curses.
"I believe in this and I have to take care of my subordinates in every possible way," Lt Gen Thawatchai said.
Lt Gen Thawatchai is a follower of the late Luang Poo Jiam Atissayo, a respected monk at Wat Intrasukaram in Surin's Sangkha district.
When he was deputy chief of the 2nd Army and was also appointed as commander of the Pattani Task Force in the lower South, Lt Gen Thawatchai also issued amulets and talismans
consecrated by Luang Poo Jiam to soldiers from the Northeast who were deployed in the lower South.
Friday, Lt Gen Thawatchai asked Luang Phor Supat Techapalo, who is also a disciple of the late monk, to give similar talismans including takrud - a small, rolled metallic sheet inscribed with yantra symbols - and Buddha amulets to the soldiers.
The monk was also asked to sprinkle holy water and wrote yantra at military bases to bless them with good luck.
Lt Gen Thawatchai said the talismans are meant to prevent black magic reaching them. Some troops believe the Cambodians are involved in occult practices.
He said the Buddhist amulets and the talismans are also intended to boost soldiers' morale.
An army source stationed at the border said he believed Cambodian troops would perform "some kind of rituals" on Preah Vihear temple to counter the army's distribution of talismans to its troops.
On Aug 1, 2008, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's wife Bun Rany presided over a ritual at Preah Vihear temple, which raised fears among many Thais, who believed it could bring bad luck to Thailand.