Uprising underway in communist Laos

Fighting is raging in the countryside of Laos, triggering speculations that an uprising could be under way in the Southeast Asian country.

    Pro-democracy groups are trying to unseat communist rulers

    A military source in neighbouring Vietnam confirmed on Sunday that skirmishes had broken out in some regions of the communist country, but added the situation was under control.

    “We have information that there has been low-key fighting in Laos over the past couple of days,” he said on conditions of anonymity.

    His confirmation followed claims by the US-based Fact Finding Commission(FFC) that the Lao Citizens Movement for Democracy(LCMD), comprising resistance groups and army defectors, had begun an uprising.

    FFC said pro-democracy forces had been battling Vietnam-backed Lao military forces in 11 provinces across the country.

    Vietnam, however, denies its army is in any way involved, though it is known to wield considerable influence over its fellow communist neighbour.

    “There is a basis for anti-regime activity in Laos but they have always been extremely low key and easily suppressed,” said Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia expert at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

    Sumbun Saiyayoo, a FFC researcher based in Bangkok, said he was informed of the uprising by an ex-Lao army officer.

    A spokesman for the LCMD had earlier said its goal was to overthrow the authoritarian regime and replace it with a democratically elected government.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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