Argentine NGO helps search for Vietnamese MIA

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Scientists from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF) are working to help Vietnam identify its MIA soldiers, the official Vietnam News Agency reports.

It said an Argentine newspaper on Monday quoted EAAF President Luis Fondebrider as saying EAAF had drafted a plan to provide technical consultancy services to Vietnam to help search for MIA soldiers at the Vietnamese government's request.

Last year, two EAAF experts arrived in Vietnam to provide training classes in forensic anthropology and identification of remains for Vietnamese forensic science staff in Hanoi (between May 30 and June 2) and Ho Chi Minh City (between November 7 and 11).

Last December, two officers from the Vietnamese National Institute of Forensic Medicine went to Argentina to get professional training at EAAF headquarters in Córdoba.

Fondebrider said the cooperation would not only help search for MIA soldiers but also aid in identification of victims of natural disasters.

María Mercedes Salado, one of the two EAAF experts, said they would come back to Vietnam in the next few months to provide more training.

EAAF will continue to receive Vietnamese officers from the ministries of Public Security, Health and Defense for professional training, she said.

More than a million Vietnamese are still presumed missing after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

The EAAF is an Argentine not-for-profit scientific non-governmental organization. It was set up in 1986 at the initiative of various human rights organizations with the aim of developing forensic anthropology techniques to help locate and identify Argentenian citizens who had disappeared during the "Dirty War" period of the 19761983 military dictatorship.

Since then, EAAF members have conducted field work in 30 other countries. In particular, it acquired worldwide renown by identifying the remains of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Bolivia.

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