Laos: Christian widow living in a forest after villagers burn down her home

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A Christian widow in Laos is living in a forest with her children after local authorities expropriated her land and villagers burned down her home, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

Seng Aloun has been a widow since her husband died last December; she is a resident of a village in Savannakhet province in southern Laos, ICC said.

Aloun has been dealing with anger against her Christian faith since local officials joined villagers in attacking pallbearers carrying her husband’s coffin to the funeral: the attackers were enraged at the family’s “foreign religion.”

Last month, the local authorities went on to drive the widow off her land, while villagers burned down her home, ICC said. The authorities did nothing to catch the arsonists, leading the family to document the incident with photos of their burned home posted online.

In a statement to ICC, a local Christian friend of the family said the authorities then called Seng Aloun in to meet with them on March 15. “At the meeting, the district authorities again demanded the family take down the posts and the videos of the burned home and the attack on the coffin, or to make changes to the posts.”

The widow refused to edit the posts, and said she would take the matter to provincial and central government authorities if no action was taken against the arsonists. While the local officials promised to catch the perpetrators, the widow is still homeless and living in a forest.

A majority-Buddhist country, Laos ranks 26th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.