World

Vietnam authorities try to end hostage standoff

Vietnam authorities try to end hostage standoff
A street is seen blocked in Dong Tam during a land dispute protest on the outskirts of Hanoi. Photo: Reuters
Published: 10:45 PM, April 20, 2017

HANOI - Authorities in Vietnam's capital promised on Thursday to review the use of land at the center of a dispute with protesters who have held 20 officials hostage for five days, local media said.

VnExpress said the offer was made by Hanoi's People Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung to the residents of the Dong Tam commune, but that they had so far spurned his offer of a meeting to try to end the standoff.

People in Dong Tam, 40 km (25 miles) from the center of Hanoi, say they were given insufficient compensation by authorities taking over residential land for a telecommunications project.

The dispute escalated at the weekend when protesters seized 38 officials, including police officers, in retaliation for the arrest of residents over the protests.

Fifteen of the hostages were freed on Monday and three others escaped while authorities also released the detained protesters, but the standoff has continued.

Residents said they feared that if they accepted the invitation to the meeting on Thursday they would be arrested.

"We will continue to invite them to talk at the soonest, perhaps tomorrow or the day after," Chung was quoted as saying by VnExpress. He said the hostages were being well treated. REUTERS