Hundreds of prisoners of war have been released by both sides in South Vietnam over the last three days (12, 13, 14 February).
GV ZOOM Vietcong huts
SV Vietcong ceremonial gate, Vietcong flags
GV Helicopter beside Vietcong hut, PAN TO soldiers
SV ICCS watch proceedings
MV & SV Prisoners helped by troops and Red Cross workers (2 shots).
AERIAL V Release area, helicopters lined up to repatriate prisoners
MV/SV Troops change out of prison dress into uniforms in helicopter (4 shots)
GV Relatives and students welcome prisoners at Pleiku
MV PAN SV Soldiers being carried
SV Released Prisoners out of helicopter (3 shots)
Initials BB/0318 DN/PN/BB/0334
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Background: Hundreds of prisoners of war have been released by both sides in South Vietnam over the last three days (12, 13, 14 February).
Under agreements hammered out during the Paris Peace talks and by the International Control Commission Secretariat, both the vietcong and South Vietnamese have been releasing their military and civilian prisoners captured in recent fighting.
The exchanges will continue over the next three weeks.
Despite minor problems, the exchanges have gone smoothly, and most prisoners are reported to be in generally good condition.
More than four-thousand South Vietnamese and Vietcong personnel are reported to be involved.
Meanwhile two South Vietnamese Rangers have reported that the Vietcong are still holding three American servicemen in the highlands area of Pleiku.
The Rangers said the Vietcong told them they would hand over the Americans to the North Vietnamese who would take them to Hanoi.
The American embassy in Saigon said it hand received information on the men and was "very interested". There are one-thousand three-hundred Americans listed as missing in action in South Vietnam.
SYNOPSIS: Vietcong territory in South Vietnam and the stepping off point to freedom for hundreds of Government troops captured by the Communists.
With Vietcong flags fluttering behind them South Vietnamese Chinouk helicopters line up to evacuate the most seriously wounded.
At this release point, thirty-five kilometres north-west of the strategic air base at Pleiku, Red Cross workers were on hand to help the wounded prisoners.
The South Vietnamese prisoners, dressed tin the traditional Vietcong black pyjamas, lost little time in changing back into their customary army uniforms. After a short flight back to Pleiku, the wounded were taken to hospital while their comrades received a rousing welcome from relatives and local students.
The South Vietnamese have released more than two-hundred Communist troops after flying them to the Vietcong-held town of Loc Ninh one-hundred-and fifteen kilometres north of Saigon. Altogether about one thousand two hundred Communist prisoners are expected to be released with an even larger number of government soldiers being released by the Vietcong.