Death toll in Vietnam shootings climbs to nine
HANOI: The death toll in gun attacks on two police headquarters in Vietnam’s Central Highlands has risen to nine, including four officers, authorities said on Monday.
Twenty-six people have been arrested in connection with the rare shootings that occurred in the early hours of Sunday in Cu Kuin district of Dak Lak province, said the website of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
“In the early morning of June 11, 2023, a group of people riding motorbikes used guns and other dangerous weapons to attack and vandalize the headquarters of the people’s committee and the offices of police in the two communes of Ea Tieu and Ea Ktur,” the site said.
Four police officers, two local officials and three civilians died, the site added, while two police officers were seriously injured.
Police were searching for more suspects.
An earlier report by the MPS said two people being held hostage by the attackers were freed, while another person being held managed to free himself.
The Central Highlands, home to a number of ethnic minorities, is considered a sensitive area for Vietnam’s authoritarian government and has long been a hotbed of discontent over issues that include land rights.
Some tribes in the area — collectively known as Montagnards — sided with the United States-backed south during Vietnam’s decades-long war. Some are calling for more autonomy, while others abroad advocate independence for the region.
Several state media outlets withdrew their reports about the incident on Sunday, before republishing them hours later.
Gun violence is extremely uncommon in Vietnam, where it is illegal for citizens to own firearms and the black market for weapons is limited.
Four people were shot dead at an illegal cockfighting betting ring on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh city in January 2020.
In another rare shooting in 2016, two senior officials in northern Yen Bai province were killed by a colleague at their office before the gunman shot himself.
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