The first prisoner of war exchange since the end of the Laotian civil war earlier this year was completed without incident on Thursday (September 19th) just east of the strategic Plain of Jars.
GV Phonosavanh airfield
GV aircraft C123 taxiing in (2)
GV handover ceremony (4)
GV North Vietnamese POWs from aircraft with flags (3)
GV POWs (2)
GV wounded North Vietnamese POW on stretcher
GV wouned POW
GV ceremony for exchange Thai POWs
GV & MV Thai POWs (3)
GV Thai POWs walking to aircraft (3)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The first prisoner of war exchange since the end of the Laotian civil war earlier this year was completed without incident on Thursday (September 19th) just east of the strategic Plain of Jars.
At Phonsavanh airfield, representatives of the International Control Commission and the Laotian Joint Peace Committee watched as the exchange was accomplished in 65 minutes.
The Vientiane side, which used to form the generally recognised government of Laos, handed over 173 North Vietnamese soldiers to its partners in the new coalition government, the ???ro-communist ???athot Lao.
The ???athot Lao, who contested the rule of the old Vientiano governments for more than ??? years, in turn handed over 150 Thai volunteers and 20 Laoti??? soldiers.
The only incident was when the aircraft being used to transport POWs became stuck in ???bomb crater on the airstrip. With the help of soldier, ???s and ???ssian tank, it was eventually freed. The airstrip, held by the ??? Lao, was the scene of bitter fighting during the civil war.
After the handing over ceremonies, the Thai volunteers were flown to Namphong air base in Thailand, the 20 Enotians to a training centre closer to Visntiane while the North Vietnamese and ???athet Lao left for an undisclosed destination.