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Viet rice field killing survivors cant forget

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Viet rice field killing survivors can't forget
VAN XUAN (Vietnam) - Rice farmer Nguyen Dam still remembers the day when 10 elderly farmers were gunned down by United States soldiers while tending their fields in July 1967 during the Vietnam War.

Standing on the edge of the field, he gestured with his hand as he said: 'The soldiers stood here and they were shooting. It was impossible to describe it. When I think about it, it still pierces my heart.'

Mr Dam, who was 31 at the time, buried two women. One of those killed was his father-in-law.

All were too old to fight and at least five were women.

The killings in the central Vietnam village are among the biggest atrocities committed against civilians in the province by an elite US army unit known as the Tiger Force for their striped camouflage uniforms.

The Toledo Blade newspaper in Ohio broke the news of the war crimes on Oct 19, saying none of the soldiers has been prosecuted.

The 45-member paratrooper unit was assigned to spy on enemy forces in Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces between May and November 1967.

The Blade said at least 81 Vietnamese were known to have been killed, possibly more.

Some bodies were scalped and had their ears cut off, an infant was reported to have been decapitated and a 13-year-old girl sexually assaulted and killed.

While Hanoi has said it wishes to close the book on events, witnesses and survivors say they want retribution. -- Reuters

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