An exchange of gunfire between an obscure armed group and local troops in Laos' north-central Xaysomboun Province in late November left three government soldiers dead and some others injured, according to a local military source.
“There was gunfire between a Lao anti-government resistance group and Lao soldiers at Nam Yon area in Xaysomboun province around November 23 or 24, killing three soldiers and some others injured,” a retired Lao soldier close to a high-ranking officer in the Ministry of Defense told RFA's Lao Service this week.
In comments to RFA on Tuesday, the retired soldier also reported two earlier, separate incidents in which passenger vehicles were fired on, killing one person and injuring six others. Those car shootings took place between Nov. 15 and 18, the retired soldier said.
RFA called Military Hospital 103 on Wednesday, but officers declined to comment on the incidents.
It was not clear if the incidents, which have not been reported in Lao's tightly controlled state media, were related. The anti-government group's size and motives were not known.
Local residents told RFA on Friday that security had been beefed up in the area since the incident.
The shootout in Xaysomboun, which is near the capital Vientiane, came a week after security authorities in the capital seized a number of weapons, including AK-47s and M16s that were hidden in a car near the Number One Lao-Thai Mekong River Friendship Bridge, sources in the city told RFA.
A total of eight suspects were arrested after the weapons seizure, including two near the river border bridge and six more who were captured along with more guns in the Ngoi district of Luang Prabang province, a relative of one of the suspects told RFA.
Reported and translated by Ounkeo Souksavanh for RFA’s Lao Service. Written in English by Paul Eckert.