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Katu Tribe Sets Poison Traps in Vietnam

Feb. 11, 1962 - U.S. military personnel on reconnaissance in central Vietnam have run into hostile aborigines, belonging to the Katu tribe, who set traps for them with poisoned arrows. Although the Vietnamese maintain that the Katu are heavily infiltrated with Viet Cong Communist guerrillas, it is extremely doubtful that they are familiar with Marx or Lenin. The Katu are blood hunters who sacrifice animals and humans to appease the spirits. Captives are stabbed to death with spears, and these are then thrust into the ground as offerings. The Katu killed at least one Vietnamese and wounded several others on two recent expeditions involving Americans. Katu traps most frequently encountered are shallow pits lined with poison-smeared bamboo spikes. These pits are often only a foot deep and cleverly concealed in the trails by straw lids thinly covered with dirt. U.S. Marine officers, who have just completed a reconnaissance of mountain trails against a possible future commitment of Marine combat teams against the Communists, have inspected some of the traps. Their findings will be applied in training marines in jungle warfare exercises on the northern tip of Okinawa.


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