Incident Summary:

02/06/2003: During the morning, at least 20 unidentified gunmen with automatic rifles attacked a tourist passenger bus near the village of Vang Vieng. Ten civilians were killed, including at least two foreign nationals on bicycles traveling in front of the bus. There was no word on perpetrator casualties or civilian injuries, but some private property belonging to the tourists were stolen. A farm tractor behind the bus was also hit by bullets. Lao authorities speaking off-record have blamed ethnic Hmong insurgents for the attack. Officially, however, authorities blamed bandits, indicating that private property of the tourists were stolen. One local Lao official, however, claimed that no property was stolen during the attack, and that it was a terrorist attack. The road on which the bus was on is the main road connecting the Lao capital, Vientiane, with the tourist site of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO world heritage site.




Southeast Asia

region/u.s. state:


Vang Vieng

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Tourists traveling on a bus between Vientiane and Luang Prabang
Nationality of Target Laos
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Unknown
Nationality of Target
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Weapon Details
Automatic rifles were used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) No
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Other Crime Type
Additional Information Roads in the area around the incident were closed, and local Internet connections were disconnected. A Lao police official argued that Hmong rebels tended to attack government posts and officials rather than ordinary citizens, and hence the motive for this attack was unclear.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Unknown No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 20
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 10 Fatalities
Total Number of Fatalities 10
Number of U.S. Fatalities Unknown
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities Unknown
Total Number of Injured Unknown
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured Unknown
"BUS ATTACK: Gunmen kill 10 on Lao highway," The Nation (Thailand), February 7, 2003.
Dr. Tobias Nischalke," Ambush on Bus I Laos Kills 10, Including Two Foreigners," World market Analysis, February 7, 2003.
"Gunmen kill 10 on Lao highway," Xinhua, February 7, 2003.