Reports: Vietnam Conducts Deadly Crackdown on Ethnic Hmong
VOA News May 09, 2011
Two U.S.-based advocacy groups say Vietnamese security forces are continuing a deadly crackdown on thousands of ethnic Hmong Christians along the border with Laos.
The Washington-based Center for Public Policy Analysis and the group Hmong Advance say dozens of protesters have been killed and hundreds of others wounded since the crackdown was launched in late April in Dien Bien province. The CPPA reported 14 additional deaths overnight Sunday, saying the death toll is now 63.
These casualty figures have not been independently confirmed. Most foreign journalists have been barred from the region.
The U.S. embassy in Vietnam said last week that it was looking into the reports. It called on all sides to avoid violence.
Hmong Advance spokeswoman Christy Lee said the crackdown was launched April 30 in the Vietnamese border town of Muong Nhe, when about 8,500 Hmong gathered to pray and demand land reforms and expanded religious freedoms. Lee said hundreds of protesters were arrested, with some of them transported to locations in Vietnam and nearby Laos.
Vietnamese officials last week said troops were used to break up a rare protest in the region. But authorities said only minor clashes had occurred and that no one was arrested.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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