Nguyen Thi Trong:
At that time, during the raid,
they came in helicopters and their troops jumped down from the
helicopters and arrested us. This happened throughout and so there was
no place for you to flee to. The members of each household had to remain
in the home. Then they rounded us up and herded us to the soccer field
where the administrative headquarters is now. Then they told us to bring
our oxcarts and cattle to that place and to bring along some of our
personal belongings. But we should leave the houses as they were because
they were helping us take care of our houses.
But this was only a lie that they were telling us. But
we were afraid of the bombs and the shelling and so we had to follow
them. When we got to the soccer field, they detained us there for ten
days and placed guards all around us, making it impossible for us to go
anywhere at all. This was because people were taken away by boat slowly
and only twice or three times daily. It took them more than ten days
before they could remove all the inhabitants of Thanh-tuyen. It began in
the 11th month of the lunar year and ended in the 12th month, well into
the first week of the 12th month.
When we arrived at the relocation camp, they forced us
to live in tents. As for food, as soon as we arrived they handed some
rice out to us. But after that we had to work and earn our own living.
They forced us to do all kinds of work, making bricks and building
houses. After the rows of houses had been constructed, they rounded us
all up and had a lottery. We would be given a certain house at a certain
lot, in a certain section of the camp, depending on the lottery number
we got. When we got to our house, we had to go out and hire out our
labor in order to earn a living. They would provide us with nothing
I only got a few sheets of corrugated iron, that was
all, for the roof above me. In contrast, when I was back here in the
village, my house was brick and tile. It was a large house with two
separate sections. They said that I should leave and come back when they
had the area built up and when they finished building their military
posts. But we did not know that we had to go away that long. We left in
1966 and it was not until 1975, when peace finally came, that we were able to come
back to the village.
We did not dare to come back
before then. When we left, we had cows and buffaloes in the house. But
when they rounded us up, we could only bring a pair of buffaloes and a
pair of cows and an oxcart with us. They carried our oxcart by plane and
they transported us and the buffaloes and cows by boats. After that,
they even took some cows out by airplanes. Everything was taken by them.
We did not take anything with us, not even our belongings. The things
that we left behind were all taken by the soldiers. All the furniture
and other things were all taken and destroyed by the soldiers.