12/09/2010, 00.00
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Montagnards in prayer beaten and threatened by police

Hundreds of police attacked hundreds of Catholics of the Degar ethnic group. 22 were wounded; many fled into the forest and are now being hunted. Inhabitants were ordered not to speak of the episode.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – The toll from an attack by hundreds of police on a group of about one hundred ethnic Degar Vietnamese Catholics gathered in prayer is 22 wounded. There are about one million Vietnamese ethnic Degar, mostly Christians. Catholics are about 200 thousand.

According to reports by the Montagnard Foundation, the attack took place on November 11 in the village of Ploi Kret Krot, in Gia Lai province, bordering Cambodia, where similar events had already occurred twice in the villages of Ploi Kuk Kong and Ploi Kuk Dak.

In the latest attack, the faithful had gathered in prayer in the open air, when police officers ordered to disperse. On replying that they were not committing any crime, the police attacked them, beating men, women and children with sticks, even electric batons, and seizing their crosses, images of the Virgin and other religious objects. Some people fled into the forest.

Among the 22 injured, nine were unconscious. A man, A Bom, 50, has been left crippled The officials have also threatened to arrest residents if they had reported the incident to the foreign media.

Those who fled are still hidden, while the police hunts them down, patrolling the village and forcing residents to stay indoors.

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