Two Chinese citizens killed in Laos bomb attack

Xaysomboun province, where the bombing occurred, was once a base for ethnic minority Hmong, who sided with the United States during the Vietnam War era.
By Fred Lambert Contact the Author   |   Jan. 26, 2016 at 4:43 PM

VIENTIANE, Laos, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A suspected bomb attack in central Laos killed two Chinese nationals and injured a third, according to officials.

The incident occurred Sunday morning in the Xaysomboun province, 140 miles from the Laotian capital of Vientiane.

Chinese state news reported the victims were found in a vehicle and that one was an employee of a mining company from China's Yunnan province. Chinese officials visited the injured man, referred to as "Zhou," at a hospital in Vientiane.

Beijing has urged the Laotian government to investigate the incident.

"The Chinese embassy in Laos is paying close attention to the incident and has started an emergency response mechanism," Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying Monday.

The blast occurred as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made his first visit to Laos, where he discussed a series of issues with Laotian officials, including trade, health care and how to recover unexploded ordnance left over from the Vietnam War era that is contaminating 41 of Laos's 46 poor districts.

Xaysomboun province has seen a recent spike in violent incidents. Authorities issued a curfew in the province after three soldiers and three civilians were killed in a shootout last month. Officials blamed "bandits" for the violence, but Radio Free Asia quoted an unnamed source close to the government as saying an anti-government resistance group was behind the killings.

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