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Raid injures 20 Vietnamese Christians

Police say they were searching for 'unregistered guests'

Raid injures 20 Vietnamese Christians

Published: June 26, 2014 04:09 AM GMT

Updated: June 25, 2014 06:48 PM GMT

Reports have emerged from Vietnam detailing an early June violent raid on an evangelical Christian school that injured at least 20 people.

Police broke through the gate of a Mennonite church compound in southern Binh Duong province on June 9 arresting 76 people, reported the Morning Star News, an independent US-based website that focuses on Christian persecution.

Police said they conducted the raid to search for unregistered overnight guests, the website reported on Tuesday. In Vietnam, local officials must be notified of overnight guests, whether staying in a private home, institution or hotel.

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Many of the 76 Christians present were physically assaulted before being loaded onto trucks and taken to a police station for interrogation, Morning Star News said. The detained were released June 10, but attacks continued, apparently with the aim of intimidating those at the center, the website said.

The center belongs to the unregistered Vietnam Evangelical Mennonite Church, led by the Rev Nguyen Hong Quang, whom Morning Star News described as an "outspoken advocate for religious and other freedoms".

"The excessive use of force … was completely unjustified," Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide said in London on Wednesday.

A spokesperson said the organization's research had found several unregistered Mennonite congregations in Vietnam have suffered oppression. Church members' homes have been burned down and leaders have been jailed, often to long terms.


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