Bodies of French soldiers found in Vietnam

9th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

HANOI, Dec 9 (AFP) - Construction workers in Vietnam have unearthed the remains of 11 suspected French soldiers killed during France's humbling defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, a local government official said Thursday.

HANOI, Dec 9 (AFP) - Construction workers in Vietnam have unearthed the remains of 11 suspected French soldiers killed during France's humbling defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, a local government official said Thursday.

The skeletal remains were found last weekend during site clearance for an entertainment park in Dien Bien City, 500 kilometres (310 miles) northwest of Hanoi.

They were buried 200 metres from the headquarters of Colonel Christian de la Croix de Castries, head of the ill-fated garrison at Dien Bien Phu.

"We suspect they were French soldiers because we found personal belongings and wallets that contained pictures and papers in French," said Dinh Xuan Thang, head of Dien Bien province's external affairs department.

"We will inform the foreign ministry and the French embassy in Hanoi once we receive final confirmation from authorised bodies in the next few days that the dead were really French," he added. The French embassy said it was unaware of the discovery.

Around 3,000 troops under French command died or disappeared during the 56-day battle of Dien Bien Phu that precipitated the crumbling of France's colonial empire in Indochina. Around 10,000 Vietnamese were killed.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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