The debate surrounding the mysterious Naga fireball phenomenon in Laos has caused friction across both sides of the Mekong River after news reports in Thailand suggested the event was a hoax.
A Thai national and head of a group of conspiracy theorists submitted documents to the Embassy of Laos in Bangkok early this week calling on authorities in Laos to investigate the source of mysterious fireballs known to appear in the Mekong River.
The Naga fireballs, also known as the “Mekong lights” are a phenomenon witnessed annually along the Mekong River. According to reports, glowing balls of a reddish hue are said to rise from the water high into the air.
Mr. Somphop Khamsavath, the Thai national who contacted the Embassy of Laos says he holds evidence that the fireballs are in fact caused by either flare guns or tracer bullets shot into the air on the Lao side of the Mekong River.
In response to the claims, Head of Pakngum District, Mr. Khammoun Tiangthalat, told VTE 9 News in an interview that after hearing the news from Thailand, his superiors instructed him to investigate the matter.
“After receiving instructions from the Mayor of Vientiane Capital, I asked village authorities in the area to coordinate with border patrol units and investigate the matter,” he said.
Mr. Khammoune said he directed local authorities and border patrols to conduct investigations in four villages in Pakngum District and file a report on their findings.
Each village reported that local law enforcement and border officials had conducted patrols through the night of the End of Buddhist Lent in line with Covid-19 restriction measures, without any incidents recorded.
In light of this, Mr. Khammouane has concluded that the use of any kind of firearms or flare ammunition would not have been possible on the night in question.
“I am confident in concluding that reports of gunfire or the use of flare ammunition in my district has no basis in fact whatsoever,” he added.
Footage of the Naga Fireballs by JA Phommachak in Pakngum District, Vientiane Capital.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Khamsing Lorvanxay, Acting Head of the Pakngum Office of Public Security, said in an interview that on the night of 21 October his police units had conducted patrols in coordination with local law enforcement and military units, with a heavy presence along the bank of the Mekong River.
He said police officers were enforcing the curfew which remains in place in accordance with Covid-19 restriction measures, actively working to ensure residents remained in their homes and did not congregate at the riverside to witness the Naga fireballs as they usually would at this time of year.
“In response to the news in foreign media, I would like to state that it is extremely unlikely that anyone could have fired weapons or flare ammunition without our knowledge on that night. We ensured a heavy police presence through the night and did not encounter any incidents,” said Lieutenant Colonel Khamsing.
But villagers in the area, particularly in Narkoung Village, say they witnessed the phenomenon again this year, with a greater display of fireballs than usual.
They believe that with fewer people congregating or engaging in celebrations amid Covid restrictions, the mysterious spirits responsible for the fireball event were more likely to appear.
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