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07/15/2020 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – A monastery in Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue province was attacked by thugs backed by local authorities as part of a land grab campaign, according to the Benedictine monks there.

Within four days two attacks took place. Benedictine Brother Nicholas Le Van Thuong told UCA News on July 13 that five people armed with knives and machetes went on the rampage last week breaking stools, benches, tables, electric fans and other items at the monastery in Thien An.

Thugs also threatened to kill monks who tried to get in their way and tore apart tents the monks use as shelters while tending to their orange orchard, he said.

Three days later, the attackers led by a former member of Thuy Bang Commune militia called Nguyen Viet Ton returned and knocked down pine trees and demarcated the land the trees were on with bamboo stakes, the monk added.

The monastery land has been subject to land grab as early as 2002. Local authorities disregarded the Benedictine monks’ ownership and began to sell plots of land to people who then built houses, restaurants and set up poultry and cattle farms.

Ton also has gradually been encroaching on this land, felling pine trees and replacing them with eucalyptus trees. He has laid claim to more than 2,000 square meters of land while inviting interested buyers to tour the property.

“We are fighting a losing battle against those who are being supported by the local government to take our property,” Thuong said, knowing that their appeal to provincial officials and the central government on July 12 to punish the attackers might again be ignored.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].