Troops involved in cameraman's death: Thai agency



Troops involved in cameraman`s death: Thai agency Bangkok: A Thai agency on Saturday said troops were "involved" in the deaths of a Japanese cameraman and 12 civilians during an army crackdown on rallies in Bangkok last year and called for new inquiries.

In a significant change in stance since saying in February that soldiers were not to blame for the death of Hiroyuki Muramoto, of the Reuters news agency, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) said it had sent the case back to police to probe.

"The DSI believes (the deaths) occurred during the officials' operation, so we believe that they were involved with those killed," agency chief Tarit Pengdith told agency, insisting this had been the position all along.

More than 90 people -- mostly civilians -- died in the unrest in April and May 2010 and both military and anti-government "Red Shirt" protesters have accused each other of using live ammunition.

This is the first DSI statement on the high profile case since a new government allied to the Red Shirts came to power last month.

Investigators initially concluded that Muramoto might have been killed by the military during clashes between troops and protesters, but early this year said police evidence suggested the bullet was from an AK-47 assault rifle or similar firearm, which are not used by the Thai military.

In February the Bangkok Post reported claims that the DSI head had been visited by a senior army figure to complain about the initial department finding that soldiers could be behind the deaths.

But Tarit has denied that the army or government interfered in the probe.

PTI