Vietnamese Government Sweeping Operation Captures Montagnard Degar Chris

Monday, January 12, 2004

“Publicly Tortured And Dragged Through Villages These Christians Need Urgent Help As Locals Fear They Will Be Executed,” says Montagnard Foundation

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

SPARTANBURG, SC (ANS) -- Since the Cambodian government closed the refugee camps in Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri provinces of Cambodia, the Vietnamese government has increased repression in the Central Highlands, arresting, imprisoning and killing the Montagnard Degar people to halt the spread of grass roots Christianity.

This latest news comes from Scott Johnson of the Montagnard Foundation, Inc.), which is dedicated to the preservation of the indigenous peoples of Central Vietnam.

According to Johnson, one of the most terrible events that took place when a police officer “cut the throat of our Montagnard Christian brother named ‘Nih’ on December 13 2003.”


He said that once this news was made public, several Members of the European Parliament and members of the Transnational Radical Party (an NGO with Consultative Status to the United Nations) presented an urgent parliamentary question to the European Commission, stating namely, “What is the European Commission waiting for before bringing to an end the bloodbath and ethical, political and religious persecution that is going on in Vietnam?”

Johnson told ANS, “The Vietnamese government however, continues to ignore the United Nations Human Rights Committee that called on Vietnam to permit international human rights monitors access to the central highlands. Further Vietnam continues to ignore calls by the international community to stop persecuting the Montagnards. Direct from Vietnam our people report that virtually every single village now has secret police stationed there who intimidate and arrest Christians and refugees who try fleeing to Cambodia.”

He said that the 2003 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report released December 18 stated, “The situation remained poor or worsened for many ethnic minority Protestants in the Central Highlands and Northwest Highlands.”

Johnson went on to say, “The Montagnard peoples ask the international community how long will the world tolerate the Vietnamese government in terrorizing its own indigenous people? How long will international donors who are supplying Vietnam with aid money finally say enough is enough? We however, understand that international politics is difficult and that aid is needed for developing nations - but we ask that these donors carefully review Vietnam’s human rights record and to please do much more to help our suffering people. In particular we ask the international community urgently intervene and help the Christians below as Vietnamese police in this case were particularly intent on hurting them and we fear for their safety.

“On December 21, 2003 approximately 1:00 pm eight trucks filled with paramilitary police surrounded the village of Plei Todrah, commune of Bongong, Cu Se district, Gia Lai province in order to capture our Christian brothers who have been hiding in the area.

“In this incident, the police arrested four of our Christian brothers, Jum, Huit, Teng and Thoi, who were hiding in the house of our Christian brothers Hram, Won and Oh. The police tied them up and tortured the four Christians in full view of the villagers by repeatedly beating and kicking them. The police then pulled them around the village to show the rest of the Christians how Montagnards will be treated if they disobey the government. The villagers reported to us that blood came out from the noses and ears of those four brothers of ours while the police paraded them around the village. After the beating the victims were literally thrown on the back of the trucks and taken away. The villagers reported to us they do not know if our brothers are still alive and that some were unconscious when thrown on the trucks.

“The three Christian brothers, Ham, Won and Oh, who had helped these four Christians are now on the run after the police completely destroyed their. The entire village is extremely fearful of what has happened to our four brothers that day as the police were extremely intent on hurting them during the public beating. The four Christians who helped their brothers now face arrest, torture or worse as Vietnamese police are now also hunting them down.

“On December 21, 2003, the same day as the above operation, Vietnamese government police arrested two other Christian brothers, Hlo, from the village of Plei Pheo, commune of Bongong, Cu Se district, Gia Lai province and Hua, from the village of Plei Brong Guai, commune Ia Pet, Dak Dao district, Gia Lai province. The police beat, kicked and publicly tortured these two brothers of ours in the same manner as they did to our four brothers above. It is currently unknown what has happened to these six victims.


“Then on December 22, 2003, a Montagnard Christian named Y Bun Ayun (aged 24 years old) from Buon U village, Dak Lac province went to the police station at Cu Jut District to ask for government permission to celebrate Christmas. The police however, arrested him and had him beaten and subjected him to electric shock torture. They repeatedly told him not to follow the Christian religion. After two days of torture and beatings the police eventually released him. His family is extremely worried the police will continue to harass him or torture him again.”

Johnson said that the Montagnard Foundation respectfully asks:
The United Nations Organization and foreign governments take immediate action in getting human rights monitors access to the central highlands as recommended by the UN Human Rights Committee of which Vietnam has continued to ignore.

The United Nations Organization and foreign governments take immediate action to secure release of these six Montagnard Degar Christians who were arrested and protect the safety of Y Bun Ayun, as well as the other hundreds of our Montagnard people held in prison for peaceful political activity, for being Christian or for trying to flee to Cambodia as refugees.

That international donors and foreign governments seriously review how aid monies are used in Vietnam in order to ensure Vietnam ceases human rights violations and religious repression in Vietnam.
He concluded by saying, “Unless urgent action is taken to protect our people inside Vietnam’s Central Highlands many more Montagnard people are going to suffer and perhaps die.”

For further information, go onto the MFI website:, or contact Scott Johnson at