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05/09/2012 Vietnam (Daily Star) – Vietnam has arrested three Christian ethnic minority tribespeople in the central highlands for “anti-state activity,” official media said Wednesday.

The men, from the Ede and Gia Rai tribes, have been accused of “undermining national political unity” in central Gia Lai province, the communist party mouthpiece Nhan Dan reported.

The trio, identified as Runh, Byuk and Jonh, belong to the armed separatist group FULRO, the report said.

Founded in the 1950s FULRO — the French acronym for the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races — fought successive regimes to establish an independent state for ethnic minority tribes in the central highlands.

It supported the Americans in the Vietnam War, before officially disbanding in the early 1990s.

About 2,000 Montagnards — Christian minority tribespeople — fled to Cambodia over 2001 and 2004 after Vietnamese authorities crushed protests in the region.

For years, Montagnards have protested against the confiscation of their ancestral land and religious persecution, leading to often brutal repression.

Vietnam, a one-party state, is a majority Buddhist nation of about 86 million, where the government says it always respects the freedom of belief and religion.

But religious activity remains under state control and some groups have complained of ill-treatment.

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