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Three Lao-Americans From Minnesota Missing in Laos

Three Lao-Americans From Minnesota Missing in Laos

February 28, 2012 (Revised and Updated), Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Bangkok, Thailand

For Immediate Release

The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and the United Lao for Democracy and Human Rights, Inc. (ULDHR) have expressed concern about reports that three Laotian-Americans from Minnesota are missing in Laos.

Mr. Souli Kongmalavong, Mr. Bounma Phannhotha and Mr. Bounthie Insixiengmai of the Twin Cities-area of Minnesota have reportedly gone missing in Laos..

“The Lao and Hmong-American community in Minnesota and across the United States is very concerned about the reports that three Laotian-American citizens have disappeared in Laos,” said Boon Boualaphanh, President of the ULDHR in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “We are deeply worried that, based upon some reports, they may have been wrongly detained or arrested by the Lao military or secret police.

“We are calling on the U.S. Embassy in Laos to find these missing Americans and return them to their families, if they are alive,“ Mr. Boualaphanh stated. “We are appealing for a full investigation as to what in happening to Lao and Hmong Americans who continue to disappear in Laos.”

“We have received disturbing reports from Laos, and the Laotian community in the United States that three more Lao-American citizens have disappeared in Laos under mysterious and troubling circumstances apparently involving the secret police and the Lao military,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued: “The three Lao-American from Minnesota were last seen in Laos on January 6th and appear to have gone missing under mysterious circumstance involving the Lao secret police and military who, by some accounts, reportedly arrested the group ; We have received a number of preliminary and credible reports that the three Americans may have been met with violence and deadly force by the Lao police and military when traveling in the Keng Kok area of Savannakhet Province, Laos.”

“Unfortunately, the Lao military and security forces are systemically corrupt and are notorious for their recent acts of political violence, religious persecution and brutal oppression of their own citizens,” Smith stated. “In recent years, the Lao military and secret police have also been involved with the arrest and detention of Lao and Hmong-American citizens from Minnesota, Wisconsin and elsewhere, including Hakit Yang, Pastor Naw Karl Moua, Houa Le, Michael Vang and others.”

“In light of the recent abduction in Laos by the secret police of the high level Laotian civic activist Sombath Somphone in December of last year, and the failure of the Lao government to address this matter, we are very concerned about the disturbing reports that we continue to receive about the fate of the three Lao-Americans from Minnesota who are missing in Laos,” Smith said. “We are calling upon U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. Ambassador to Laos to raise this matter with the highest levels of the Lao government and urge a full accounting regarding the three Lao-Americans, so that justice can be served, and they may be returned to their families in Minnesota.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) has issued a recent report regarding the disappearance of the there Americans.


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