Vietnamese soldier dies in suspected beating by his comrades

A Vietnamese soldier died this month at the hands of his colleagues, the third death of a member of the military to be reported this year, according to media sources in Vietnam.

Hoang Ba Manh, 20, was allegedly beaten to death on Dec. 20 in what an officer in a meeting with the victim’s family described as a “fight among soldiers.” News of the incident was widely covered by social media on Dec. 22, the 77th anniversary of the founding of the Vietnam People’s Army.

Speaking in a video shared on social media, a family representative confirmed that Manh, a resident of Phu Loc village in the Cam Vu commune of northern Vietnam’s Hai Duong province, had been physically attacked and later died in his bed at his military camp.

Manh had been “handled” by his fellow soldiers in the attack, an officer wearing an air force uniform said in the video, which was filmed by a person describing himself as one of Manh’s neighbors at home.

“After attending a routine roll call, they called to each other to gather in a bathroom separated from their barracks to do what they called ‘handling each other,’” the officer said. “If this had happened in another, less private place, someone from his unit would definitely have seen it.”

RFA has been unable to identify in which military unit the attack took place, and Manh’s family has refused to speak to reporters.

“Our family has not yet reached an agreement on what exactly took place, so I can’t say anything about this,” one family member said. The person confirmed that Manh’s military unit had held a funeral for him.

Also on the video, a man said that Manh’s family had identified at least two soldiers responsible for the attack, and a military representative promised to investigate the incident.

Hoang Ba Manh is the third soldier to have died this year while doing military service in Vietnam.

Nguyen Van Thien, a resident of Village No. 2 in the An commune of central Vietnam’s Gia Lai province, died in November of what his unit said was heart attack. Family members citing an autopsy said however that multiple injuries had been found both on and inside his body.

And in June, Tran Duc Ho from northern Vietnam’s Bac Ninh province also died at a military camp. Representatives from Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence said that Do had taken his own life, but his family disagreed, saying that many injuries had been found on his body.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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