Laos, Vietnam Peoples Army Unleashes Helicopter Gunship Attacks on Laotian and Hmong Civilians, Christian Believers

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Helicopter gunship attacks have intensified against Lao Hmong villagers and civilians in Laos, including enclaves of Hmong Protestant Christian, Catholic and Animist believers who have fled to the jungle and mountains...," said Philip Smith of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.

( - Washington, D.C., and Bangkok, Thailand, February 10, 2010 - The Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ), backed by troops and advisers from the Vietnam Peoples Army ( VPA ), has launched heavy military attacks to seek to eliminate remaining Laotian and Hmong civilian and dissident groups in hiding in Phou Bia and Phou Da Phao mountain areas, and elsewhere in Laos. Many of those targeted include independent Christian and Animist enclaves of Hmong believers hiding in the jungle.

The Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) is a one-party, authoritarian, military regime that still remains largely under the domination and control of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ). The LPDR is a close ally of Burma and North Korea. Last year, the LPDR regime in Laos held ceremonies honoring North Korea and its leaders.

“Relentless military attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilians as well as political and religious dissident groups have again been intensely launched at Phou Da Phao and Phou Bia Mountians areas of Laos and in other areas of Xieng Khouang Province, Luang Prabang Province and Khammoune Province with apparently no fear of international interference or consequences,” said Vaughn Vang of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council ( LHHRC ).

“Very intense military attacks by the LPDR regime have occurred since the February 2-10, 2010 against many unarmed Laotian and Hmong groups in hiding in Laos,” Vang explained.

“Reliable sources report that Lao Hmong groups in the remote mountainous areas of Phou Bia, Phou Da Phao, Xieng Khouang Province and Saysamboune Laos have been heavily attacked with significant numbers of LPA and VPA ground troops, mortars, artillery, helicopter gunships and chemical defoliants and other lethal means,” Vang said.

“Currently, the Hanoi-backed Lao government has deployed hundreds of new LPA and VPA troops to launched a merciless and brutal multi-pronged attack against the remaining 4,500-5000 Lao Hmong people who comprise the surviving civilian and religious and political dissident groups still encircled, or in hiding, in the Phou Bia and Phou Da Phao mountain areas of Laos as well as other areas of Saysamboune Special Military Zone and Xieng Khouang Province,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.

Smith stated further: “In the recent joint Lao - Vietnam military offensive, over 42 Lao Hmong civilians were wounded or killed, with more casualty numbers coming in. Of these people 19 dissident Hmong Protestant and Catholic believers were shot, machine-gunned to death, or slaughtered, by attacking VPA and LPA soldiers as well as helicopter gunships.”

Smith continued: “Helicopter gunship attacks have intensified against Lao Hmong villagers and civilians in Laos, including enclaves of Hmong Protestant Christian, Catholic and Animist believers who have fled to the jungle and mountains because of persecution and to practice their faith and live in freedom outside of the Lao government’s control.”

“LPA and VPA forces are hunting, encircling and attacking Lao and Hmong civilian groups hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos in an effort to kill, starve them to death, or capture them. Attacks are also now occurring in Xieng Khouang Province, Saysamboune Special Military Zone as well as parts of Vientiane Province, Luang Prabang Province Khammoune Province and elsewhere in Laos,” Smith explained. "Many hundreds of Lao and Hmong people were killed and wounded last year alone by LPA and VPA attacks."

“With the help of more troops and military advisers from Hanoi, the LPA continues to use food, and starvation, as weapons against the Laotian and Hmong people living outside of the government’s oppressive control,” Smith concluded.

“The Lao and Vietnam joint military assault, with its most recent offensive and attacks, is seeking to wipe out, starve to death, kill or capture all of these innocent Lao Hmong women, children, elderly, and other civilians in February and March,” Vaughn Vang continued.

“The Lao military, with the help of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is again using its soldiers and helicopters to attack and kill many innocent people and civilians, including those independent Lao and Hmong Christian, Catholic, Animist and Buddhist believers who have fled religious persecution to live in the jungles and mountains of Laos,” Vang said.

Vang concluded: “These 4,500-5000 Laotian and Hmong people in hiding, who are now under intense military attack, are desperately crying out for what could be their last opportunity to appeal for an immediate end to these military attacks on civilians by the Armed Forces of Laos and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; The Laotian and Hmong people are appealing for assistance from the United States, United Nations, United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the European Union, and others in the international community to seek to end to the LPA’s military aggression and stop these atrocities and human rights and religious freedom abuses; They are urgently appealing to the international community and human rights and humanitarian organizations to help save their lives-- and to help save them from religious and political persecution, torture, and death at the hands of the Lao Communist government and LPA and VPA soldiers.”

In 2004, the U.S. Congress passed H. Res. 402 urging the LPDR regime in Laos to cease military attacks against the Lao and Hmong people.

On November 26, 2009, the European Parliament urged the LPDR regime in Laos to release all political prisoners, dissidents and prisoners of conscience it has arrested and imprisoned, including Lao student leaders and a group of Laotians arrested on November 2, 2009, for seeking to organize a reform march.

Following the conquest and occupation of Laos in 1975 by the North Vietnamese military and communist Pathet Lao guerillas, Hanoi imposed the East Bloc, Soviet-style “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” on Laos. The SRV military-imposed Treaty was renewed by Hanoi and Vientiane and serves as a pretext for Hanoi’s continued military, security force and economic intervention in the LPDR in Laos.

Vietnam military-owned companies continue to exploit Laos’ natural resources, including large-scale illegal logging in provinces where Hmong and other minority Laotian people live. The LPA and VPA continue to use military force to evict and drive Laotians and Hmong from their homelands, often for the purpose of military-backed illicit logging, illegal mining, agriculture schemes and hydro-electric projects.

LPA and VPA troops were recently involved in evicting and forcing ordinary Laotians from their land and property in Vientiane Province to make way for a golf course project.

In 2009, high-level SRV and LPDR defense ministry meetings were held. The LPA and VPA also held numerous meetings in Vientiane, Hanoi and elsewhere to discuss joint military cooperation and operational activity in Laos. Various military campaigns and operations were jointly conducted by Laos and Vietnam with hundreds of civilians killed and wounded.

The SRV in Hanoi has intensified its attacks on religious believers in Vietnam and Laos, including Hmong Christians and Catholics as well as independent Buddhists.

Vietnamese Hmong Catholics and Protestant believers, with relatives in Laos, have participated in demonstrations against SRV communist party policies in Hanoi. The SRV has violently responded to peaceful protests in Hanoi and Vientiane against reformers and those opposed to the policies of the one-party, Communist ruling elite.

The SRV in Vietnam has used state media to attack Hmong Protestant Christian and Catholic believers.

In a separate incident that drew international condemnation and outcry,on December 28, 2009, Thailand's Army General Anupong Paochinda ( also spelled Anupong Paojinda )and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, forcibly repatriated some 4,700 Lao Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers from Thailand back to the communist regime in Laos they fled.


Contact: Mr. Juan Lopez
( 202 ) 543-1444

CPPA - Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Suite No. #212
Washington, D.C. 20006


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