BANGKOK — Thailand's military rulers detained former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday, a senior officer said, after summoning her for talks a day after the army overthrew her caretaker government in a coup.
"We have detained Yingluck, her sister and brother-in-law," a senior military officer told Reuters. The two relatives have held top political posts.
"We will do so for not more than week, that would be too long. We just need to organize matters in the country first," said the officer who declined to be identified.
He declined to say where Yingluck was being held, but media said she was at an army base in Saraburi province, north of Bangkok.
Yingluck was forced to step down as prime minister by a court on May 7 but her caretaker government, buffeted by more than six months of protests against it, had remained nominally in power, even after the army declared martial law on Tuesday.
As the army moved to consolidate its grip on the country, its chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, set out his plans for the country, saying reforms were needed before an election.
Prayuth launched his coup after rival factions refused to give ground in a struggle for power between the royalist establishment and Yingluck's populist government that had raised fears of serious violence and damaged the economy.
Yingluck is the sister of Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire telecommunications tycoon turned politician who won huge support among the poor but the loathing of the royalist establishment, largely over accusations of corruption and nepotism. He was ousted as premier in a 2006 military coup.
The armed forces have a long history of intervening in politics — there have been 18 previous successful or attempted coups since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.
First published May 23 2014, 11:05 AM