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Khmer Krom Facing Vietnam Violence: Group

At least five Khmer Kampuchea Krom minorities have been wounded and six arrested in Vietnam in the wake of a crackdown on demonstrations, according to an advocacy group and several alleged victims.

Vietnamese authorities have used tear gas, gunfire and arrests to quell demonstrators in a land dispute in An Giang province, which borders Cambodia, said Ang Chanrith, executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization.

Vietnamese officials could not be reached for comment, and a Cambodian embassy official said he was not aware of the situation.

The Khmer Krom are culturally linked to Cambodia, but many live in Vietnam, where they say they face government discrimination. Their treatment is a political flashpoint for many Cambodians.

"Please help me," one Khmer Krom villager said by phone from Vietnam. "They destroyed my house, and I do not know where I and my crying children will stay."

"Save us," said a second villager, "or they will arrest us all."