Vietnamese Security Police Attack Degar Christians with Machetes
Protests organized by Degar Christians in the past weeks demanding both the release of wrongfully imprisoned Degar and just treatment for the indigenous people, has been met by Vietnamese police with extreme violence, including beatings and attacks with machetes. Divisions of soldiers and militarily armed civilians also surrounded three Degar villages in order to intimidate and keep the people from accessing food or water.
4/19/08 Vietnam (MontagnardFoundation)
Peaceful and non-violent protest at the commune of Ia Chia
On April 11, 2008 at around 2:00PM, more than 50 Christians from the villages of Ploi Bang, Ploi Beng and Ploi Kom went with their children to the communal office of Ia Chia demanding the release of Puih H’Bat, Ksor Sim and Rahlan Don whom were unjustly arrested earlier that morning. They were confronted by hostile and aggressive security police denying them entrance into the communal office. When the protestors refused to leave the vicinity, the security police responded with the arrest 2 of our Christian brothers, Ksor Ien and Rahlan Toi.
Peaceful and non-violent protest at the commune of Cu Se
On the same day April 11, 2008 the Vietnamese government sent around 550 soldiers and security police along with approximately 500 Vietnamese civilians to surround 3 Degar villages (Ploi Tot Hang Ring, Ploi Tot Byoc and Ploi Pang) in the district of Cu Se. They were fully armed with military war equipments which also included electrical batons, swords, and machetes and so on.
They strategically placed 100 of the security forces inside Ploi Tot Hang Ring, 100 inside Ploi Tot Byoc, and 550 inside ploi Pang. The remaining forces were used to monitor the periphery. This was done in an attempt to intimidate the Degar villagers who were threatened with bodily harm and imprisonment if they left their homes.
Peaceful and non-violent protest at the commune of Ia Hleo
On April 12, 2008 Degar Christian rallied their brother and sisters in Christ from the villages of Buon Sam, Buon Dang and Buon Hwing (approximately 200) to conduct a peaceful and non-violent demonstration in front of the communal office of Ia Hleo demanding the release of our Christian brothers and sister, Puih H’Bat, Ksor Sim and Rahlan Don.
Instead of listening to these demands, the Vietnamese government arrogantly responded by sending its soldiers, police and civilians to suppress its indigenous people cries for peace. They delivered brutal and mercilessly beatings, and imprisonment of the following individuals below:
- Our brother Siu Bhiao, age 22 from the village of Buon Dang, was attacked by a Vietnamese security police who wacked him on the head with a sword. His injuries were so severe that he required immediate medical attention in the district of Ia Hleo. At this present time, his condition is unknown.
3. Our brother Un Adrong, from the village of Buon Dang, was wacked with a machete to unconsciousness by the Vietnamese security police. They also took him to a clinic in the nearby district of Ia Hleo. At this time, his condition is unknown.
4. Our brother Siu Thai, from the village of Buon Sam, was sprayed with tear gas in his eyes and then violently and brutally beaten with a police baton, wooden stick, and stock of a rifle until he fell to the ground unconscious. He was then transported to the clinic in the district of Ia Hleo.
9. Our Sister Siu H’Ngoi, age 53 from the village of Buon Sam, was also trying to help her brothers and sisters who were seriously injured during the attack at which time the police sprayed her in the eyes with tear gas, shocked her with an electrical baton which knocked her down to the ground, and beaten until she completely passed out.
10. Our brother Ksor Mrak, from the village of Buon Sam, was wacked with a machete on the head and knocked down to the ground unconscious. The family rescued him and took him home for treatment. The family did not want to take him to a Vietnamese clinic because of fear of being poisoned and murdered. At the present time we do not have any further information on his condition.
We the Degar people would also like to report the gross difference on how the Vietnamese government responds to Degar protesters as they do with the Vietnamese protesters. For instance, a recent protest by the Vietnamese civilians and farmers over the confiscation of church land in Hanoi and farm land in the city of Ho Chi Minh was not met with the same brutality and hostility as was the Degar protesters. None of the Vietnamese protesters were physically harmed. This goes to show the racist prejudices that the Vietnamese government fosters towards the Degar people. This threatens and violates their human rights as citizens of Vietnam. Therefore, we ask that our people be treated as equal citizens. In addition, we ask the Vietnamese government to encourage good relations with our people and not fostering such racism and hate.