Potential Hot Spots: July 18, 2003


New rebel action in Laos? Possibly, but its hard to know if theres really a new revolt in the making, or if the attacks are really bandits, or if theyre even really occurring. The Laotian Communist government clamps down on information and there are few Western journalists in the country. Laos as Vietnam vets can attest does have lots of tough terrain (jungle and mountains) where rebel forces can hide. The Lao government and its Vietnamese allies, however, are ruthless when dealing with opponents. Still, there are numerous Lao exile groups that have money and want to see the Laotian Communist government fall. That adds some credibility to the claim by US-based exile groups that a Laotian rebel force named the Lao Citizens Movement for Democracy (LCMD) attacked a Lao government convoy July 17. The alleged attack took place in Laos Bolikhamsai Province south of a town named Pak Kading. Some 30 people were said to have died in the attack. There was no way to independently verify the exiles allegations. Lao exiles have also alleged that the LCMD has been active in Salavan Province. The LCMD also claimed to have probed the Xaysomboun area northeast of Vientiane. The wire service said the LCMD claimed it launched a revolution in Laos on July 13 against the Laotian Communist government. The LCMD is supposed to be an umbrella organization of resistance groups, local militias and (Lao) army defectors. It is possible the militias are Hmong tribal fighters. The Laotian government denied that rebels had seized any towns or villages.


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