|Leaders celebrate anniversary of great escape
Members of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and government officials have marked the anniversary of a jail-break by Party leaders on May 24, 1960.
The 50th anniversary of the event was observed yesterday with a seminar at the office of the Propaganda and Training Board of the Party Central Committee.
Among the escapees were Lao Patriotic Front leaders Prince Souphanouvong, Mr Nouhak Phoumsavanh, Mr Phoumy Vongvichit, Mr Phoun Sipaseuth, Mr Sisana Sisan, Mr Khamphai Boupha and Mr Sithon Kommadam.
Nine jailed officials from the Lao Front and soldiers working with the coalition government also took part in the escape, including Mr Singkapo Sikhotchounlamany, Mr Ma Khaykhamphithoun, Mr Meun Somvichit, Mr Phao Phimmachan, Mr Khamphet Phommavanh, Maha Somboun Vongnorbountham, Mr Bouasy Chaleunsouk, Mr Phoukhao and Mr Mana.
Former Deputy Minister of Public Security Mr Xiengsom Kounlavong was one of 10 prison guards who helped the 16 prisoners escape from Phonkheng jail and return to their stronghold in northern Laos.
He said the jail was surrounded by two barbed wire fences separated by 3 metres of metal sheeting. Guards were on patrol 24 hours and spotlights lit up the perimeter of the jail throughout the night.
“Prisoners maintained the Party leadership structure to enable better planning and secrecy,” Mr Xiengsom said.
Having spent almost 10 months in jail the men successfully escaped on May 24, 1960, after gaining the support and sympathy of the guards.
Revolutionary zeal, solidarity and patience led to the overcoming of the prisoners' obstacles and difficulties. In addition to Mr Xiengsom, another six former guards who assisted in the escape also shared their experiences at the seminar.
Advisor of Ideology and Cultural Affairs Mr Samane Vinhaket and Head of the Propaganda and Training Board Dr Phanduangchit Vongsa were present at the seminar.