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Aceh bloodshed continues despite peace talks JAKARTA - Bloodshed continued in strife torn Aceh on Monday even as fresh peace talks on the troubled province got underway at a secret Swiss location. Indonesian government officials and separatist rebels of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) began their behind-closed-doors discussions amid a media blackout, AFP reported from Geneva.
The two sides which launched a dialog last year are expected to continue their discussions until Wednesday, sources close to the talks said. In May both sides agreed to a three-month truce, dubbed a "humanitarian pause" that started in June and has been extended until Jan. 15. Jakarta has said it will not seek another extension of the accord.
Meanwhile in Aceh conflict continued with the latest death toll rising to 33 people killed already the past eight days. In the latest recorded violence, five people were killed in North Aceh. One of the fatalities was a Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebel, while the remaining four were civilians. The GAM rebel, identified as Marzuki, 23, was shot dead in a joint police and military sweeping operation at noon on Monday in Lhok Bintang Hu village, of Tanah Jambo Aye district in North Aceh.
"We seized a pistol from the deceased," head of North Aceh Police Adj. Chief Comr. Wanto Sumardi said later in the day. The four other victims, aged between 26 and 30, were recovered from Padang Sakti village in Muara Dua district, near the PT Arun gas pipeline in North Aceh. Two of the bodies have been identified as Junizar and Iswadi.
Residents found the bodies after a fierce pre-dawn gunfight between rebels and security troops at around 1 a.m. on Monday. "We suspect the four were members of GAM," officer Wanto said. GAM commander in North Aceh Abu Sofyan Daud confirmed that Marzuki was a GAM member, while the remaining four were civilians.
Since the implementation of the humanitarian pause in Aceh last year, at least 538 people have been killed, 398 of whom were civilians, 88 military/police and 55 GAM members. Tension has intensified in the province following a police ultimatum demanding illegal gun owners hand in their weapons to the security authorities by Jan. 15, or face repressive actions.
Aceh's National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) coordinator Iqbal Faraby urged the police on Monday to clarify the ultimatum as "the operation procedure is unclear and could victimize many more civilians in the process". In Jakarta Minister of Defense Mahfud MD said a major crack down of rebel leaders in the province will begin as soon as the accord expires on Jan. 15.
Mahfud claimed that the government already has a list of names of the people involved in the rebel movement. He said the government has so far refrained from capturing them to honor the accord. "Because of the Humanitarian Pause, we cannot be offensive, but after Jan. 15 we will take these people. We will strengthen law enforcement," Mahfud told The Jakarta Post. He claimed that there was ample proof against these individuals, including their possession of illegal weapons.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 09 January 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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