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Witnesses State A Deliberate Ambush With Military Truck Kills Relatives Of Degar Prisoners And Vietnamese Driver: Police Then Extorted Money From Victim’s Family

5/24/07 Vietnam (Montagnard Foundation) – BACKGROUND: The indigenous Degar Peoples (known under the French colonial term “Montagnard”) have suffered decades of persecution by the Vietnamese communist government, namely; confiscation of ancestral lands, Christian religious repression, torture, killings and imprisonment. To date over 350 Degar prisoners remain in prison for standing up for human rights, for spreading Christianity or for fleeing to Cambodia . These prisoners suffer abuses and are subjected to torture, including electric shock treatment, as well as being withheld food and medical care. Many Degar prisoners have been specifically beaten on their bodies repeatedly in order to deliberately cause them to die slow deaths from internal injuries. One Degar man named Y-Ngo Adrong was tortured to death on 13 July 2006 – of which the US Department described as “a credible report of extrajudicial killing by security forces” (See: 6 March 2007 US State Department’s Report on Vietnam). In the following case witnesses state they were deliberately crashed into by a military truck after visiting their relatives in prison.

AFTER VISITING RELATIVES IN PRISON – MILITARY TRUCK SWERVED INTO VAN – SURVIVORS STATE IT WAS A DELIBERATE AMBUSH

On 14 MARCH 2007 twelve relatives of Degar prisoners traveled to the notorious Vietnamese prison in the province of Ha Nam to visit their loved ones who were imprisoned there. The prisoners were religious and political prisoners who were imprisoned for non -violent offences. Unfortunately, two of these twelve relatives and their Vietnamese driver were killed by an intentional and cleverly arranged “accident” in order to cover up the intimidation and criminal acts committed by the prison authorities against the prisoner’s relatives. Prior to the trip the prisoner’s relatives had applied for permission with the local police to visit the prison but the police were not happy with the application and strongly discouraged them from going. The relatives insisted and reluctantly the police issued them travel permits. On 14 March 2007 the prisoner’s relatives left Buonmathuot City and arrived in Ha Nam province on 15 March 2007. After a few hours visiting with their loves one at the prison, the relatives began their journey home on the same day March 15, 2007. When they arrived in Ky Anh district in the province of Ha Nam (where the head quarters of the Vietnamese security police are located) a large army truck coming from the opposite direction swerved in their direction towards their van. The van driver tried to avoid the collision but was unable to escape and the truck crashed into them driving their van off the road, killing the driver and 2 Degar women who were sitting next to the driver. The rest of the passengers incurred serious injuries (except one named Y-Mika Buonya who incurred minor injuries). The Vietnamese driver’s name in not known at this time but the two Degar women are named H’Powel Nie and H’Wot Buonkrong. The surviving witnesses reported that the large heavily built truck deliberately swerved towards them and crashed into their smaller van and then police extorted money from them if they wanted to bring the dead bodies back to their villages for burial. Details as follows:

POLICE EXTORT MONEY FROM THE VICTIMS: FIRST THEY KILL THE DEGARS THEN EXTORT MONEY FROM THE SURVIVORS

Security police then pulled two of the dead Degar women out of the wreckage and put their corpses in coffins along the road side. The police then refused to permit the victims friends and family from taking the bodies back to their village unless they pay them 25,000,000 in Vietnamese money. Twelve of the prisoners’ close relatives are as follows:


  1. H’Powel Eban (female – KILLED 15 March 2007) was born in 1972, from the village of Buon Buor Drai Hling, commune of Hoa Xuan, district of Cu Jut, province of Daknong. She wanted to visit her husband Y-Yuan Buonya who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in Ha Nam . She has four children ages from 14, 10, 6 and 4 year old.
  2. H’Wot Buonkrong (female – KILLED 15 March 2007) was born in 1962, from the village of Buon Cuorknia , commune of Eabar, district of Buondon, province of Daklak . She wanted to visit her brother Y-Hoang Buonkrong who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  3. H’Rida Eban (female), who was born in 1976, from the village of Buon Jung, district of Krong Ana, province of Daklak. She wanted to visit her husband Y-Don Buonya who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  4. Y-Mika Buonya (male) age unknown and he is living at the village of Buon Jung , district of Krong Ana, province of Daklak . He wanted to visit his uncle Y-Don Buonya who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  5. Y-Knap Mlo (male) was born in 1974, from the village of Buon Ko Mleo , commune of Hoang Thang Buonmathuot, province of Daklak . He wanted to visit his father Y-Kuo Buonya who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  6. Y-Thok Nie (male) was born in 1983 from the village of Drai Hling , commune of Hoa Xuan, Buonmathuot province of Daklak . He wanted to visit his brother in-law Y-Yuan Buonkrong who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  7. H’Bhum Eban (female), who was born in 1939, from the village of Buon Kdun, commune of Cu Ebur, Buonmathuot province of Daklak. She wanted to visit her son Y-Ruih Eban who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  8. Y-Wor Nie (male), from the village of Buon Kdun , commune of Cu Ebur, Buonmathuot, Daklak province. He followed his grand mother H’Ruih Eban to visit his father Y-Ruih Eban who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  9. H’Buit Mlo (female), who was born in 1971 from the village of Buon Ale “A”, city of Buonmathuot, Daklak province. She wanted to visit her husband Y-Senat Ksor who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  10. H’Ngan Mlo (female) was born in 1953 from the village of Buon Puor Tara , commune of Hoa Dong, district of Krong Pac, province of Daklak . She wanted to visit her son Y-Samuel Mlo who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  11. H’Mrao Eban (female), from the village of Buon Puor Tara, commune of Hoa Dong, district of Krong Pac, Dalak province. She wanted to visit her husband Y-Samuel Eban who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .
  12. H’Lai Buonya (female), from the village of Buon Kwang , commune of Cu Bao, district of Krong Buk, province of Daklak . She wanted to visit her husband Y-Soan Mlo who has been imprisoned at the prison facility in the province of Ha Nam .

THE MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION CALLS ON:

Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to urgently demand Vietnam investigate the deaths of the victims above.

Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to urgently demand Vietnam release all 350 Degar prisoners as identified in the Human Rights Watch report of 14 June 2006.

http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/14/vietna13542.htm

Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to pursue a permanent humanitarian presence in the Central Highlands by US, UN and international NGOs in order to address the underlying causes of the persecution of the indigenous Montagnard Degar peoples.

Ø The US State Department reconsider placing Vietnam back on the ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) watch list of nations which are the most egregious violators of religious freedom.