Andrew Buncombe: I didn't see who shot me – but those who were looking have few doubts

Eyewitness

Many of those trapped inside Wat Pathum that terrifying afternoon last May probably didn't actually see who was responsible for turning a Buddhist temple into a killing ground.

As the bullets flew, those unfortunate enough to find themselves at the front of the compound fled for safety wherever they could: behind trees, behind cars, crouched behind low brick walls. Their swirling emotions were a mixture of fear and astonishment.

A number of those who did manage to look up said they saw troops on the overhead railway, taking up positions and aiming weapons. And while everyone is aware of the abilities of Photoshop to distort or create an image, subsequent photographs published in those newspapers that had the courage to print them appeared to provide supplementary evidence of the presence of the soldiers.

I didn't see who was firing that chaotic afternoon. When the bullets started, I was taking cover with everyone else and when I was struck, I was lying down on my side trying to take a photograph of the medical volunteers working on the injured. It was ironic that one of them would run across the concrete and drag me to safety. But even those who did not see the troops in action concluded they were almost certainly responsible for the shots that entered the temple.

Earlier in the week, soldiers had been casually spraying bullets at Red Shirt protesters armed with stones and fireworks elsewhere in the city. They didn't seem to care that the protesters had taken up a position in a residential area and that the bullets of their M16s would likely travel a very long way.

Now we know that the troops responsible for shooting into Wat Pathum were not raw recruits but supposedly "élite" special forces. Even if, as they claim, someone was firing at them from the temple (and remember, no independent witness has come forward to verify this), did they not pause to think that their bullets might harm the innocent? Precisely what special training to these troops receive?

What also remains unclear is the intention of the soldiers. Are we supposed to believe someone struck by three bullets could be the victim of loose "covering fire"?

If, on the other hand, those shots were aimed, what was going through the minds of the soldiers as their sights came to pause on young female volunteers wearing shirts marked with large green crosses that in Thailand signify a medic? Or, for that matter, on journalists wearing green armbands that had been handed out for the media?

Although it confirms the deadly role of the troops, Thailand's Department of Special Investigations report still leaves unanswered many of the most vital questions that were being asked in the immediate aftermath of 19 May. Who was in control that day and who gave the order to shoot? Did Thailand's Prime Minister, Mr Abhisit, approve of these orders? What was his role? And what is he going to do about it now?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate