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Troops involved in red-shirt crackdown had no sniper rifles: Thai army

Publication Date : 18-08-2012


Thailand's Army spokesman yesterday denied that troops deployed to the crack down on red-shirt protesters were armed with sniper rifles.

Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the army spokesman, said troops were only using M16 assault rifles equipped with a telescope to monitor the situation.

Kaewkamnerd was reacting to a comment by Pol. Col. Prawet Moonpramuk, deputy director-general of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). Moonpramuk has displayed a picture of troops captured from a video clip, saying he would summon the troops with sniper rifles to testify.

Kaewkamnerd also complained that the Army had handed over evidence to the DSI proving that men in black were the ones who fired at troops and demonstrators.

He said the men in black and others with malicious intent mingled with the demonstrators to attack troops and the people, so troops had to assign some of them to be guards armed with M16 rifles with telescopes to watch out and monitor the moves.

Kaewkamnerd asked Moonpramuk to interrogate DSI Director-General Tharit Pengdit about the operations of troops during the red-shirt protests because Pengdit was on the Centre for Resolutions under Emergency Situation. Kaewkamnerd said Pengdit was present when the CRES held meetings and made decisions on how to deploy troops to control the situation.

Kaewkamnerd said police and the DSI had always ignored evidence handed over by the Army. He cited the case of a firing on an Army helicopter on April 10, 2010 as an example. He said three suspects were arrested with M16 and AK-47 assault rifles and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition but the court acquitted them on grounds of lack of evidence although the Army had submitted documents and evidence to investigators.

Kaewkamnerd wondered why investigators did not use the evidence to file charges.

The Army spokesman also complained that the DSI was dragging its feet in the cases of attacks on troops but was speeding up the cases where troops were suspects.

He said the Army had provided details of a white van, used by men in black, to investigators but so far no arrests have been made related to the van.

Meanwhile, Deputy Agriculture Minister Natthawut Saikua, a red-shirt leader, said he believed former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban would be summoned this month for questioning over their alleged orders for troops to fire at the people.


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