(Reuters) – Thailand’s government has vowed to go after shadowy “terrorists” it blames for triggering bloody clashes between the army and red-shirted demonstrators that left 25 people dead and more than 800 wounded on April 10.
It believes several hundred militants trained in combat are among protesters in their sprawling encampment in downtown Bangkok, well-armed and ready to attack security forces if they try to disperse the crowd.
Here are a few questions and answers about the mysterious black-clad fighters.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE MEN IN BLACK?
Witnesses and grainy video footage revealed armed men with assault rifles and M-79 grenade launchers appeared under cover of darkness on April 10 during a heated standoff between red shirts and troops trying to break up a protest in Bangkok’s old quarter.
The government says the rebels, who wore black and covered their faces with hoods and balaclavas, appeared in the crowds of protesters and opened fire on troops, triggering chaos and prompting panicked soldiers to fire back in self-defense.
Government officials and the army believe the men in black are politically aligned with the red shirt movement and sought to cause bloodshed severe enough to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call a new election.
Red shirt leaders say the “black clads” are protecting them, but they don’t know who they are.