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Vietnam jails 8 Hmong for rare unrest

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – A Vietnamese court has sentenced eight Hmong ethnic minority leaders to up to 30 months in jail over rare unrest in the country’s northwestern highlands.

Presiding Judge Pham Van Nam says the men were convicted of assaulting authorities and inciting others to gather to call for an independent state. They were arrested in early June following a religious gathering of 5,000 in Dien Bien province.

Two were given 30 months in jail, while six others received two-year sentences Tuesday.

Nam said Wednesday that police are still hunting for three ringleaders. Officials accuse overseas Hmong groups of being behind the gathering.

There is a history of mistrust between Vietnam’s government and the Hmong, a hilltribe minority with a separate cultural identity.

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