Since North Vietnam invaded the Central Highlands in 1975, the government of Hanoi has never stopped persecuting Degar Christians or forcing them to renounce their faith. Because of the horrible persecution suffered in the form of being arrested, tortured, imprisoned, and sometimes murdered, many Degar Christians were forced into hiding this year.
According to Vietnam’s constitution, article 70 states that, “The citizen shall enjoy freedom of belief and of religion; he can follow any religion or follow none. All religions are equal before the law.” Besides article 70, Vietnam has violated almost every one of the United Nation’s treaties that it has ratified. Unfortunately, there is no one dares to stop Vietnam.
At Kontum province, on November 9, 2012, Vietnam’s government carried out a sweeping operation with an estimated one thousand well armed soldiers and security forces. They searched for Degar devout Catholics and found six individuals. These individuals were all beaten prior to being arrested. Their names are below:
- A Tac, age 50, from the village of Buon Kon Hdrom, commune of Dak T’Re, district of Kon Braih, at the province of Kontum.
- A Dun, age 16, from the village of Buon Kon Hdrom, commune of Dak T’Re, district of Kon Braih, at the province of Kontum.
- A Krum, age 37, from the village of Buon Kon K’Tuh, commune of Dak Krong, district of Kon Braih, in the province of Kontum.
- A Phyun, age 35, from the village of Buon Kon K’Tuh, commune of Dak Krong, district of Kon Braih, in the province of Kontum.
- A Phyen, age 52, from the village of Buon Kon K’Tuh, commune of Dak Krong, district of Kon Braih, in the province of Kontum.
- A Yun, age 48, from the village of Buon Kon K’Tuh, commune of Dak Krong, district of Kon Braih, in the province of Kontum.
At the Dak Krong commune, the captured Degars were tied by their hands and feet, while the other security forces built a wooden cross. Then the security forces took A Tac (age 50) and tied his arms and feet to the cross in a way meant to imitate how our Lord Jesus was hung on the cross. Then the security forces taunted him saying “Call for your international community and the UN to help you.” The security forces then took the rest of the men whose hands and feet had been tied and placed them around the cross where A Tac was being hung. The security forces then kicked and stomped on these men. From November 9th through the 11th, these men were left in that condition as a public display. The security forces rounded up the villagers and told them to look at these men. They threatened the villagers, saying that anyone who continues to practice their religious beliefs will be subject to the same punishments as these men. Villagers who refused to look at the men hanging on and around the cross were threatened with jail time if they did not watch the spectacle. While the villagers watched, security forces taunted them further, saying, “Do you feel sorry for them. Do you want to help them?” and other comments.
On October 19, 2012, at approximately 7AM, security forces ambushed a Degar man named A Bih, where they beat him until he became unconscious. After he passed out, they took him to commune jail. A Bih, age 27, is from the village of Buon Kon Klong, commune of Dak T’Re, district of Kon Braih in the province of Kontum. A Bih’s wife and his three children went to the commune to inquire about his condition, only to be scorned and threatened by guns. His family could not do anything but cry so they returned home.
At Plei Ku city, a similar occurrence took place. Security forces arrested A Yut, age 39, who is from the village of Buon Kret Krot, commune of H’Ra, district of Mang Yang. He was beaten until he became unconscious and then he was taken to jail. His wife and a relative who was 76 years old, was threatened with guns and electric shock devices when they went to the commune jail to inquire regarding A Yut’s condition.
We, the congregation of the Sang Popu Ana Cu Church in Greensboro, NC, USA would like to humbly ask all the Christians around the world to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Pray that our Lord God will help them to remain strong and not to give up their faith in God. May God help them be steadfast in prayer and give them the strength and courage needed to endure all the unjust punishment, just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for us on the cross!
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told us that “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33. He also told us in John 15:19 that “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” May these versus bring comfort to our brethren.
Our dear brothers and sisters, Degar Christians in the Central Highlands! Please remember these words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He never promised us that we would have a good life in this world but, but that He has chosen us to be His people. Please do not look at our sufferings in this world, but look at all the happiness, joy, and peace that we will have with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Heaven forever when we leave this world.