Vietnam ministry warns of terrorist groups inciting riots, demanding autonomy

By Viet Tuan   March 6, 2024 | 05:53 am PT
The Ministry of Public Security has issued warnings about two terrorist groups it said had been formed to incite armed riots and establish autonomous state in the Central Highlands.

A statement from the ministry on Wednesday said the two organizations, "Montagnard Support Group, Inc." and "Montagnard Stand for Justice," have been conducting activities that can be deemed as terrorist according to Vietnamese and international laws.

Anyone who participates, spreads propaganda or incites people to participate in the groups' training courses; sponsors or receives sponsorship from the groups; or operates under groups' instructions will commit terrorism or terrorism financing and will be dealt with under Vietnamese laws, it said.

Thành viên nhóm Nhóm Hỗ trợ người Thượng tụ tập tổ chức tuyên thệ trước khi tấn công khủng bố. Ảnh: Bộ Công an

Members of a terrorist group that has been inciting riots in Vietnam's Central Highlands. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security

The ministry said Montagnard Support Group, Inc. (MSGI) was established in 2011 to recruit people from ethnic minority groups and incite them to start armed riots to demand separation and autonomy in the Central Highlands.

Y Mut Ml0, 64, from the region's Dak Lak Province, serves as chairman of the U.S.-based group, which provides training and weaponry to its members, the ministry said.

Montagnard Stand for Justice (MSFJ) was established in July 2019 in Thailand and started operation in the U.S. in April 2023, with similar methods and purposes, it said.

The two groups have been identified as the culprits of attacks at two commune People's Committee headquarters that killed 9 officials, police officers and civilians in Dak Lak on June 11, 2023.

Ôtô bị đốt trong vụ tấn công ở Đăk Lăk. Ảnh: Bộ Công an

A car is burned during an attack at a commune office in Dak Lak Province, June 11, 2023. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security

A a trial over the attacks in January, prosecutors said that Y Mut Mlo, as the MSGI leader, had recruited people in Dak Lak since 2015 to participate in armed activities that involved killing and property destruction to disturb public order and cause panic among the public. The group had plans to expand their operation to other provinces after success in Dak Lak.

Y Mut Mlo and five other leaders of the group are still hiding overseas. They were sentenced in absentia to between 3.5 years and 11 years in prison at the trial.

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