By BosNewsLife News Center
HANOI, VIETNAM (BosNewsLife) -- Traumatized Christian Degar Montagnards in Vietnam's Central Highlands were preparing for a difficult New Year on Thursday, December 28, after security forces arrested believers in several villages and raped at least one 11-year old girl in the region, local Christians said.
"I wish there was better news over the holidays, but this info just came in from the Central Highlands," said Scott Johnson, an advisor to the Montagnard Foundation Incorporated (MFI), which investigates the situation in the region and represents Degar Montagnards.
MFI said that the raped girl, Siu Hâ€™Grap, is currently suffering "extreme emotional distress" and may need medical assistance after she was allegedly abducted and raped by a Vietnamese soldier.
The incident happened November 11, 2006, but was only revealed Thursday, December 28, apparently because of security concerns and the remoteness of the area.
Siu Hâ€™Grap from the village of Ploi Wel in Gia Lai province was kidnapped by the soldier during the night after she went outside of a home to use the nearby restroom. She "was abducted by a Vietnamese soldier" who also raped her during the night before releasing her, MFI said.
The group suggested the incident was part of a wider military campaign against the predominantly Christian Montagnard group. In other incidents on December 18, "Vietnamese security police from a district of Dakdoa province surrounded the village of Ploi Tâ€™Lieo...Police searched the village and arrested," a 46-year old man, identified as Yic. "They confiscated his cell phone and took him to an unknown prison," MFI claimed.
The raids already began in November. "On November 17 Vietnamese security forces conducted raids on villages and arrested a number of Degar Montagnards in Cu Se District," apparently because they were house church Christians, MFI said, citing its contacts in the region.
The first group of believers, all from Gia Lai province, were identified as Kpa Be, 49, from the village of Tung Dang Ning, Siu Djih, 42, from Tung Kro A village, Siu Doan, 26, from Tung Creh village, Siu Gri, 21, from Tung Dang Ning village, Kâ€™pa Hnen, 46, from Bet Tel village and 52-year-old Siu Djup, from the village of Tung Mo A. Their whereabouts were not known, Thursday, December 28.
Two other Christians, 23-year-old Siu U, from the village of Ken San, and Râ€™com Hnhol, 22, from Lop village were brought to the T-20 Prison in the Plei Ku area of the region, MFI claimed.
Human rights investigators have linked the attacks to anger among Vietnam's Communist authorities about the spread of non-registered churches among Degar Montagnards. In addition the Vietnamese government has still not forgotten the support Degar Montagnards gave to US forces during the Vietnam War, several human rights groups and analysts say.
MFI believes hundreds of Degar Montagnards are still imprisoned across the country. The Vietnamese government has denied human rights abuses and questioned MFI's intentions and actions. (With reports from Vietnam).
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