SAIGON: Radio Hanoi announced on Thursday [Sept 4] that Dr Ho Chi Minh, one of the post-war world’s greatest leaders, who crushed the French colonials in Indo-China and has fought the United States to a seeming standstill, died on Wednesday at 9.47 a.m. Hanoi time “after a grave and sudden heart attack”.

Radio Hanoi announced that a 26-man funeral committee was formed by the Party First Secretary Le Duan. The committee members include besides him, Premier Pham Van Dong and General Vo Nguyen Giap. A communique broadcast by Radio Hanoi said, “Our entire Party and all our forces and people of Viet-Nam shall mourn President Ho Chi Minh for seven days, from Sept 4 to Sept 10.” It was not learnt whether the mourning period would include a battle-field ceasefire.

The funeral of President Ho Chi Minh will take place next Wednesday. The date was announced in Paris today by Xuan Thuy, head of the North Viet-Namese peace talks delegation, just before he flew off to Hanoi to attend the funeral ceremony.

The Committee’s message broadcast after the official announcement of President Ho’s death and to the accompaniment of mourning music asked the nation in the temporary absence of a Head of State to follow the policy of the Party Central Committee and the Government. — Agencies

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2019