Residents in Quang Nam Province excavate a 6-km wartime tunnel in Thang Binh District.
An underground tunnel system has been found in the central province of Quang Nam decades after it was used by liberation forces during the Vietnam War (1954-1975).
The tunnel was found by a resident, who wanted to remain unnamed, while digging up bamboo in his garden in Thang Binh District on April 16.
Many people are helping excavate the tunnel, considering it a proud relic of Binh Giang Commune, despite attempts by local authorities to stop them for fear of leftover ordnance.
Vo Cong Thang, 88, said he was among the people who dug the six-kilometer tunnel in 1962-63 to conceal revolutionary soldiers from the US-backed South Vietnam.
“Each resident sometimes dug up to three meters of tunnel a day and dumped soil in the Truong Giang River to avoid detection.”
The tunnel was destroyed by heavy bombardment after being discovered by the enemy, he said.
Sheltering 300 guerrillas
Local residents said war martyr Truong Thi Xang sacrificed her life to save 300 guerrillas hiding inside.
Binh Giang Commune head Nguyen Van Anh said the tunnel was discovered by the enemy on February 22, 1965, after finding an entrance in Xang’s garden.
“Xang, who was only 18 then, managed to delay the raid and learned that the enemy would deploy more troops on the next day.
“She managed to inform the 300 guerrillas, enabling them to escape. She was shot dead as soon as she returned home.”
In 2012 Xang, who used various tactics to delay an enemy attack, was conferred the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces.
Anh said local authorities have been aware of the underground tunnel system, but it has not been excavated or preserved due to lack of funds.
Elsewhere in Vietnam, the Cu Chi tunnels outside Ho Chi Minh City run for around 200 kilometers underground and sheltered liberation forces, who lived in it and fought for years during the Vietnam War.