1233 20th St. NW, Suite 400 - Washington, DC 20036
tel. 202.861.0737 - fax 202.861.0917
Spokeswoman on Kerrey's admission of the killing in Thanh Phong

On May 3rd, 2001, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Phan Thuy Thanh, answering questions with regard to former U.S. Senator Bob Kerry's admission of the killing of Vietnamese civilians in a raid on the hamlet of Thanh Phong in Ben Tre province during the Viet Nam war, said:

"We think that the best way for Mr Kerry and other Americans who participated in the war in Viet Nam to have peace of mind is to take concrete and practical actions to contribute to healing the wounds of war in Viet Nam.

The U.S. should fulfil its spiritual and moral responsibility by making active contributions to settling the war consequences in Viet Nam.

With its humanitarian tradition, in its relations with the U.S as well as other countries which were once its foes, Viet Nam advocates continuing cooperation, promoting mutual understanding and strengthening the Viet Nam-U.S.ties. This also aims to settle the aftermath left over from the past."

1233 20th St. NW, Suite 400 - Washington, DC 20036
tel. 202.861.0737 - fax 202.861.0917
US squad's killing of civilians exposed by witnesses

Ha Noi, May 10 (VNA) -- The massacre of innocent civilians at Thanh Phong hamlet on a February night 32 years ago, as admitted by former U.S. senator, Bob Kerrey, has been exposed by Vietnamese witnesses during their interviews with a group of foreign journalists who visited the hamlet on April 28.

The massacre came to light following the recent acknowledgement of Kerrey, who ordered the killing during his seven-member SEAL squad's mission to raid a meeting of local 'Viet Cong' leaders that night.

The killing of civilians by Kerrey's unit was first reported by the New York Times and the CBS News programme, which jointly conducted a two and a half year investigation into the incident. The Times and CBS interviewed a member of Kerrey's squad, Gerhard Klann, whose recollection of the raid is almost similar to the accounts of the two Vietnamese women, Bui Thi Luom and Pham Thi Lanh, who survived the massacre.

One of the witnesses, Bui Thi Luom, who was 12 at that time, said that the Americans ordered her and the 15 other people who were in the bunker to crawl out and sit together on the ground. Then, after admonishing a woman not to cough, the commandos opened fire from close range on the group, which included her grandmother, a pregnant aunt, and three younger siblings.

Ms.Luom's interview was very different from Kerrey's account that his squad shot at the villagers from a distance of about 100 yards away, only after receiving enemy fire, according to the Washington Post.

Ms.Luom was quoted by the Post as saying "Nobody fired on the Americans before they initiated the fatal barrage".

"I thought they would let us go after they saw we were only women and children," said Luom, who added that she managed to slip back into the bunker just as the shooting began. "But they shot at us like animals".

The witness was cited by the Post as saying: "There was a time when I wanted to take revenge on Americans. I bore a lot of hatred toward them."

However, she said she would just like an acknowledgement of responsibility by the Americans.

"They should admit what they did," she said. "And they should apologize to us."--VNA