The unrest began in November when a wave of violence killed three government soldiers and three civilians in the remote province of Xaysomboun. Authorities blamed the violence on unnamed “bandits,” but a source close to the government told RFA’s Lao Service that an anti-government resistance group was behind the killings of the soldiers, which took place in advance of the 40th Anniversary of Lao National Day on Dec. 2.
RFA has reported on other random attacks by “bandits” and gunfire melees that have left Lao soldiers and civilians killed and wounded.
The unrest hit an alarming point at the end of January with a bomb explosion that killed two Chinese officials and wounded a third in Xaysomboun. A number of Western media picked up RFA’s exclusive report on the explosion, including The New York Times, the Associated Press and United Press International.
Officials from China’s embassy in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, demanded a swift investigation into the blast, which occurred as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Laos on the first stop of a three-nation visit to Asia. RFA also covered Kerry’s visit.