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Nine civilians shot dead in Aceh BANDA ACEH - A housewife and a newly-married man were among nine civilians killed in the past three days in the ongoing Government battle against separatists in Indonesia's Aceh province, the military and residents said. The housewife, 52-year-old Cut Zainabah, was executed by two unidentified men who arrived at her North Aceh house Friday night local time, a resident of the area said.
The resident, who declined to be identified for security reasons, said Ms Zainabah received gunshots to the head and chest. In Aceh Besar district Thursday night, newlywed 24-year-old Zaini was shot dead and his wife, 20-year-old Cut Zuraida, was wounded by unknown attackers, a local resident said.
Neighbours found the pair drenched in blood and lying outside the home of Zaini's parents, the resident said. A relative of the victims said one of Zaini's brothers is an Indonesian special forces soldier. The relative said Zaini had returned from Jakarta to marry Zuraida only one month ago and the couple was preparing to return to Indonesia's capital on Saturday.
Seven people, including five village officials, were killed in separate incidents, that the military and police blamed on separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels. One of the dead village chiefs was a retired soldier, the military said. Chief rebel spokesman Sofyan Daud denied GAM was responsible for the killings.
"No, GAM has not taken action against civilians even though they are Indonesian government officials... we are attacking the military," Daud said. Speaking by satellite telephone, he also denied military allegations that the rebels were increasingly hemmed in by the military operation. Indonesian forces on May 19 launched an offensive to wipe out the rebels, who have been fighting for an independent state on the tip of Sumatra since 1976.
Military spokesman Colonel Ditya Sumarsono said Saturday that troops had killed 531 rebels and seized 255 weapons since the operation began, while more than 1,277 rebels have been captured or surrendered. Six more suspected rebels died Friday in a firefight with troops and paramilitary police, said Eko Daniyanto, the North Aceh police chief. He said police seized two handguns and a grenade from the six victims.
In a statement, Colonel Sumarsono said another four rebels died in nine firefights across the province Thursday, but did not say whether troops had seized weapons from the rebels. The International Crisis Group think-tank issued a report on Wednesday that questioned official figures of the rebel dead, saying there was no way to verify whether those killed were really guerrillas.
Martial law authorities in Aceh have restricted the movement of foreign journalists and non-governmental organisations.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 27 July 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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