During the past three weeks security measures in and around the Laotian capital, Vientiane, have been increased.
GV Two soldiers patrolling in village
MV Soldiers patrolling highway
MV soldiers patrolling street market area in Vientiane
LS Soldiers patrolling highway and bridge (2 shots)
MV (NIGHT) Part-time police operating road checkpoint and searching car and motorcyclist (3 shots)
MV Police and part-time police checking motorcyclists and cars at checkpoint (3 shots)
MV Car being searched
SOLDIERS PATROLLING HIGHWAY, VILLAGE, AND STREET MARKET AREA IN VIENTIANE: NIGHT SHOTS OF POLICE AND PART-TIME POLICE CONDUCTING IDENTITY CHECKS ON MOTORISTS AND SEARCHING VEHICLES.
Initials BB/1730 NPJ/DK/BB/1755
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: During the past three weeks security measures in and around the Laotian capital, Vientiane, have been increased. This follows the announcement by the municipal authorities at the end of last month that sport identity checks had been ordered on vehicles and pedestrians using the streets after dark.
The capital's official newspaper, May, has however denied that a curfew has been imposed. The newspaper quoted municipal officials as saying that rumours of a curfew were untrue and had been spread by "reactionaries".
In Vientiane, the numbers of soldiers patrolling the streets and the number of checkpoints on the roads, have increased considerably. The checks are carried out mainly at night, but sometimes during the day. The soldiers examine registration papers, driving licences and search the vehicles for concealed weapons.
Also during the past couple of weeks there have been several "unexplained" bomb and hand-grenade explosions in the city. Residents have also heard the sound of small-arms fire, as well as mortar fire from either the Thailand side of the Mekong river, or located close to the river.
On Saturday (13 March) two grenades were thrown into the grounds of the Soviet Embassy in the city, wounding four Russians. The people who were injured -- two men and two women -- escaped with slight injuries. They had been playing table tennis, but only fifteen minutes earlier some children had been in the area.
The attack came amid a spate of reports of ambushes, guerrilla strikes and skirmishes in various parts of the country. Leaflets and posters have appeared, especially in schools and public buildings, giving the impression of a simultaneous wave of propaganda against the pro-Communist Pathet Lao Government.
The Government has blamed the American Central Intelligences Agency (CIA) for the unrest, which is the most serious since the Pathet Lao assumed formal control of the Government last December.