Laos: Villagers force Christians to leave their homes

Monday, February 28, 2022

(Worthy News) - Twelve Christians were driven out of their home by village neighbors in the Buddhist-majority Asian country of Laos, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. Laos ranks 26 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

RFA reported on February 23 that twelve members of a Christian family were forced to leave their home in Dong Savanh village in Savannakhet province after neighbors attacked them on February 9 for their practice of a foreign religion.” Although freedom of religion is technically protected under its law, Laos is a communist state where Buddhism is the main religion, RFA said.

The attack on February 9, in which the family’s home was burned down, followed villagers’ refusal to allow Seng Aloun, the widowed head of the family to bury her husband in the village cemetery. “My husband died on Dec. 4 last year, and we took his body to the village cemetery two days later, but the villagers wouldn’t allow us to bury him there. They struck his coffin with wooden sticks and hit my family members too. Later, we buried my husband’s body on Dec. 7 in our own rice field,” Aloun told RFA.

“Villagers then burned down my home on Feb. 9 and seized our rice field the next day. They just want to get rid of us,” Aloun added. “Village residents and local authorities don’t like us because we believe in Jesus Christ. They don’t want us here. They say they don’t like the religion of a foreign country.”

The attack has been reported to police, who say an investigation has been set up to capture the culprits. However, local Christians have complained about police inaction when it comes to attacks on believers. “The police always side with village authorities and other villagers too, so we have nowhere else to turn for help,” a Christian source told RFA. “They really don’t like us,” the Christian added.