US Warns of Possible Laos Bomb Attacks with Upcoming Asean Summit

Opponents of the Laos government may be plotting bomb attacks in Vientiane and other areas of Laos timed to coincide with a summit of Southeast Asian leaders the country is hosting next month, the United States said.The State Department had few details of the potential threat but said the attacks could come during the November 25-30 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit conference in Vientiane and warned US citizens in Laos to “exercise extreme caution.” The threat information obtained by the embassy also covers the provinces of Bolikhamxai, Khammouan, Savannakhet, Salavan and Champassak, the department said, adding that it had no details on specific targets or methods for the attacks. Leaders of the 10 ASEAN members — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — are to gather in Vientiane on November 29 and 30 for their annual summit at the end of the longer conference which begins four days earlier.Thursday’s announcement replaced an existing July 9 alert which warned US citizens of continuing security concerns in Laos that began four years ago.”Since 2000, there have been periodic attacks on markets, two bus stations, all forms of ground transportation, border checkpoints and other public places,” the department said. In particular, it noted a series of bomb blasts between February 2003 and June 2004 and armed attacks on buses and other vehicles which killed at least 12 people. Vientiane was rocked by 14 bombings between 2000 and 2001 in which four people were killed and more than 40 injured. No one claimed responsibility until last October, when an organization calling itself the Free Democratic Peoples Government of Laos said it was behind them.Full Story

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