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15 people killed during Aceh rebel anniversary JAKARTA - At least 15 people, including anIndonesian marine, were killed during anniversary of the separatist movement in the restive province of Aceh. Monday marked the 24th anniversary of a declaration of nationhood by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), marked by residents in natural resource rich province with prayers and the raising of thousands of rebel flags.

AFP reported that six rebels died in a firefight with a joint police-military patrol in Keunareuh, West Aceh, a source at the district police station there said late Monday. However GAM sources said the six were "ordinary citizens who were shot dead" because troops mistakenly thought they had just returned from raising the banned separatist flag at a ceremony in the area. In North Aceh, a total of four people were killed in three separate incidents on Monday, police spokesman Supt. Yatim Suyatmo said on Tuesday.

Suyatmo said the four included a marine killed in an ambush in the Cot Ngabeng area, a GAM stronghold. The patrol was attacked as it headed towards a rebel jungle camp where guerrillas were marking the anniversary with a military ceremony. In East Aceh, a suspected rebel was shot dead by security personnel in the town of Bagok, while two men were killed after attending a flag-raising ceremony in Thom village.

And in South Aceh on Monday, a local journalist said troops from a joint patrol killed two males in Samadua when they tried to flee as troops approached the area. In Jakarta Tuesday, Defense Minister Moh. Mahfud M.D., called the shootings a "reaction" by troops to illegal flag flying. "It was clearly not a repressive action, but a reaction to their actions," Mahfud told journalists after meeting with President Abdurrahman Wahid at the Merdeka State Palace early Tuesday.

"We told them (GAM) not to do anything leading to subversion and independence, or to force people to do those actions. He added troops had a duty to "secure the territorial integrity (of Indonesia) as instructed by the government." Jakarta previously warned it would crack down on separatists during the anniversary.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 05 December 2000 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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