Eighty-six North Vietnamese prisoners of war who had been held captive in South Vietnam since 1965 were released this week.
Eighty-six North Vietnamese prisoners of war who had been held captive in South Vietnam since 1965 were released this week. They were the sixth group of prisoners freed by the South Vietnam Government.
The prisoners, who were recently moved from their original camp to a Government Training Centre outside Saigon, include several fishermen...and all wanted to return to North Vietnam. All but 20 of the 86 prisoners were disabled, and the South Vietnamese Government has said it released them for "humanitarian" reasons.
Before leaving the Training Centre the prisoners were given a rare but brief farewell ceremony conducted by General Tran Van Truhg of South Vietnam's Political Warfare Department.
Apart form their war wounds, most prisoners appeared quite healthy as they prepared to board a naval vessel which later took them inside North Vietnamese waters. They were finally released 12 miles off-shore in three motor-boats. Two International Red Cross officials were to have accompanied them ashore, but the plan was rejected by the North Vietnamese Government in Hanoi. The prisoners were however taught how to use the motor-boats and given a fresh supply of food and water.