SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s defense ministry said Monday it has launched a special investigation team to look into the 1980 massacre of pro-democracy protests in Gwangju under the junta of Chun Doo-hwan.
The task force will focus on allegations that soldiers were ordered to fire at protesters from helicopters and that fighter jets were ready to support the deadly crackdown that left hundreds of people dead, it said.
The probe comes weeks after President Moon Jae-in formally instructed the military to investigate the issue.
Revisiting the historic meaning and value of the May 18 Democratic Uprising is one of the liberal leader’s presidential campaign pledges.
A recent movie titled “A Taxi Driver” has rekindled public interest in the issue. It features a German reporter and the South Korean taxi driver who helped him cover the massacre of civilians.
The probe team consists of nine civilians, led by Lee Kun-ri, a prosecutor-turned-lawyer. It will be supported by some 30 military officers, prosecutors, police and other government officials for its three-month investigation, which will continue until Nov. 30, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
Handing out certificates of appointment to the nine members of the committee, Defense Minister Song Young-moo said his ministry will actively cooperate with efforts to find the truth behind the Gwangju incident.