Mukdahan villages under friendly fire from Lao rocket festival

Breaking News August 21, 2017 11:57

By The Nation

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Stray missiles from a rocket festival in Laos crossed the border and landed in at least two Mukdahan villages on Sunday, scattering residents and prompting some to stay inside their homes out of fear for their safety.



Residents of the villages in Tambon Na Si Nuan, Mueang Mukdahan, say several large, home-made bungfai (rockets) flew over from the Lao side. 

A Nation reporter found a metres-long rocket in front of Wat Thung Wao in Ban Tha Khrai – largely intact and with the fuse sputtering. 

An inscription on the missile said in Thai, “Thep Sila 1 Lao People’s Democratic Republic”. 

Sounds could be heard from a bungfai festival continuing across the border. Every time a rocket was heard being launched, people on the Thai side ran for cover.

At nearby Ban Na Si Nuan, homeowner Ping Pikulsri said a rocket had landed on her roof while she was watching television with her daughter. It sounded like thunder when it struck and they then heard people shouting about a rocket landing on a house. 

Seeing the metres-long missile on her roof, still emitting smoke, she doused it with buckets of water. 

Ping said two Thai men who’d attended the festival in Laos arrived in the village to collect the fallen rockets, but they came hours earlier than the time they’d set to discuss financial compensation with village headman Therng Khaengraeng.

Other Thais who travelled across to Laos regularly by long-tail boat reported that the rocket festival was taking place in Ban Tha Pho in Savannakhet province opposite Ban Tha Khrai. 

They said Thais were clearly participating in the festival, as seen from the rockets with Thai inscriptions and the fact that Thais came to retrieve the fallen missiles.

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