Search

 

Cablegate: Central Highlands Demonstrations Dwindling

VZCZCXRO4898
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHNH
DE RUEHHM #0480 1360900
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150900Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4468
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 3054
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 4692

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000480

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF PREL PGOV SOCI VM
SUBJECT: CENTRAL HIGHLANDS DEMONSTRATIONS DWINDLING

REF: REF A) HCMC REF B)HCMC 447 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) Summary: Reports of civil unrest in the Central
Highlands are dwindling, but tensions between ethnic minorities,
Kinh majority residents and local authorities remain. One
contact estimates 20-30 "instigators" remain in custody in Gia
Lai. Post is following up on reports of fatalities in Dak Lak
province being circulated by the Montagnard Foundation, Inc.
(MFI) and has heard from one official contact that an individual
in police custody died on May 1. Local officials are looking
further into the incidents at Post's request. End summary.

Latest Reports
--------------
2. (SBU) While most Central Highlands contacts say the situation
has returned to normal, conflicts continue to smolder in several
districts on the border of Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces,
including Duc Co, Chu Se, A Yun Pa, Krong Pa, Chu Pah and Dak
Doa districts. Eyewitnesses say groups of 50-100 demonstrators,
mainly women and children, have been involved in clashes with
local authorities. According to one reliable Gia Lai contact, a
group of ethnic minority women in Chu Pah district attacked
local police, "clawing and tearing at their clothes." When the
police attempted to restrain the demonstrators, they began to
shout and tear off their own garments. There are also reports
of ethnic minority demonstrators telling Kinh majority residents
to "leave their ancestral land." Between 20 to 30 "instigators"
are believed to be in custody of Gia Lai authorities now, but
these arrests have not been officially confirmed. Scores of
others have been detained, questioned and then released.
[Comment: In clashes several weeks ago, Gia Lai officials
confirmed similar numbers had been initially detained, but only
two or three were actually arrested and the rest eventually
released. (Ref A).] Several of post's religious contacts in the
region were reluctant to discuss the situation further, due to
"political sensitivities."

Deaths in Dak Lak
-----------------
3. (SBU) Post followed up on two accounts of ethnic minority
murders in Dak Lak in a May 6 press release from The Montagnard
Foundation, Inc. (MFI). Two reliable contacts, including one
provincial official, shared the following information:

--Two small children from the Ea Kar district of Dak Lak were
found dead in the Kdrol River with their limbs tied. Given the
remote location of the incident, more details could not be
verified. There were no reports of demonstrations in this area,
and post has no reason to believe the case was linked to recent
unrest.

-- On May 1, Mr. Y Ben Hdok was found dead "in a hanging
position" in an interrogation room at a police station in Buon
Ma Thuot, the provincial capital of Dak Lak. Hdok had been in
police custody since April 28 and authorities were questioning
him for "communicating with foreign elements." His family
reported bruises on his corpse but refused to have an autopsy
performed. Contacts say the police told the family Hdok hanged
himself while they were on a lunch break.

Official contacts in Dak Lak are following up on the incidents
at post's request, but did not have further details to share at
the time of this report.

Comment
-------
4. (SBU) While land disputes appear to be the immediate cause of
this most recent round of unrest, the Central Highlands region
is characterized by multiple stresses. Ethnic minorities have
seen their traditional lifestyle (which was based upon
slash-and-burn agriculture with frequent relocations of entire
villages) undermined by a combination of rising populations and
the move to an economy based upon fixed, long-term land tenure.
The cultural clash between many of the ethnic groups and ethnic
Vietnamese bears many parallels to the experience of aboriginal
groups in North America. The cultural clash is amplified by
Vietnam's endemic official corruption and the frequent land
grabs by well-connected groups that afflict many regions. These
machinations impact ethnic minority groups particularly hard
since they do not have a history of maintaining formal title to
traditional lands. The final ingredient in the volatile Central
Highlands mix is the impact of U.S.-based groups that advocate
active resistance to the GVN, reportedly even telling ethnic
minorities that taking part in demonstrations can earn them an
immigrant visa to the United States. End comment.

5. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Hanoi.

FAIRFAX

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC