French PM visits Dien Bien Phu battle site | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, November 04, 2018

French PM visits Dien Bien Phu battle site

Standing at the site of the epic battle of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam, French colonel Jacques Allaire wept at the memory of his 4,000 fellow fighters who died in the bloody fight that would spell the end of France's colonial rule in Indochina.

The 94-year-old former POW accompanied French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Saturday to the remote valley where the bloody battle raged for 56 days before Vietnam's shock defeat that would pave the way for the communist nation's independence.

"This is like being in a dream, I'm thinking of my comrades, of all my men," said Allaire, who was captured by communist soldiers in 1954 and held for more than seven months, including a 90-day "death march" to a prison near the Chinese border.

As the fate of the French became clear in March 1954, he received a written order from his commander: "Cease combat and destroy your weapons".

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