Lao Deputy Defence Minister Major General Sengnouane Sayalath has been appointed as acting Minister of Defence, according to the Lao news agency KPL.

The appointment was made after Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Douangchay Phichit passed away in a tragic plane crash in Xiengkhouang province on May 17.

The accident also killed several other high-ranking officials, including Minister of Public Security Thongbanh Sengaphone, head of the Lao Party Central Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training Cheuang Sombounkhan and Vientiane Governor Sukan Mahalad.

Speaking at the installation of Sayalath, Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit instructed the newly-appointed acting Minister of Defence to pay attention to intensifying defence operations in the coming time.

Earlier, Vientiane Deputy Governor Somvanday Nathavong and Deputy Minister of Public Security Brigadier General Somkeo Silavong were appointed as acting Governor of the capital city and acting Minister of Public Security, respectively.-VNA