Đời SốngVietnam

Vietnam labels 2 foreign-based groups ‘terrorist organizations’

Vietnam has accused two foreign-based political groups of being “terrorist organizations” that helped plan an attack in Vietnam’s Central Highlands last June leaving nine people dead.

The country’s Ministry of Public Security identified them as the United States-based Montagnard Support Group Inc. (MSGI) and Montagnard Stand for Justice (MSFJ), which was formed in Thailand in 2017 and began operating in the U.S. two years later.

Montagnards are a mainly-Protestant ethnic minority that live in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.


MSGI and MSFJ have campaigned for their rights, claiming they struggle to receive official documentation and often lose out in land grabs by local authorities. Many are also harassed and prevented from practicing their religion.

Wednesday’s statement from the ministry claimed the two groups recruited and trained people to “carry out terrorist activities, incite protests, kill officials and civilians, sabotage state assets and try to establish their own states.”

The claims relate to the attacks on June 11, 2023 when dozens of Montagnards, divided into two groups, attacked the headquarters of the People’s Committee and the police of Ea Tieu and Ea Ktur communes in Dak Lak province. Four police officers, two commune officials, and three civilians died in the attacks.

MSFJ co-founder Y Phik Hdok told Radio Free Asia his group never advocated violence.

He said it operated peacefully with the goal of fighting for human rights and religious freedom and denied the ministry’s claims.

“This accusation is just a demonstration of the Vietnamese government’s anger and its efforts at revenge,” he said.

“Although there was no specific evidence, they took advantage of the shooting … to hide the truth and slander to cover up their unjust policies. their attacks against and repression of the Protestant minority in the Central Highlands and those fighting for their rights.”

The Ministry of Public Security’s statement named several leaders of MSFJ, including Ede human rights activist H Biap Krong, as being ringleaders of the plot. 


Krong told RFA Vietnamese she had never been a member of MSFJ.

“I have nothing to do with the shooting incident in Dak Lak. This accusation by the government is completely baseless and is an irresponsible statement,” she said.

The ministry statement also named two people it said were leaders of MSGI, Y Mut Mlo and Y Duen Bdap. It accused them of luring ethnic minorities into using violence, carrying out terrorist acts, inciting protests and armed riots, and demanding secession, autonomy and the establishment of an independent state in the Central Highlands.

Y Duen Bdap told RFA he is the leader of the Dega Central Highland Organization, and not a member of MSGI.

“Our organization is a non-violent organization. The Vietnamese government is a terrorist organization, they steal our land and kill our people,” he said.

“I fight for human rights and the right of our people to live on the land where they were born.”

RFA emailed the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam to request comment but did not receive a response by time of publishing.

A call to Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security with a request for comment on the activists’ denials of the accusations of terrorism also went unanswered.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.


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