JAKARTA - Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri has told the Indonesian military to avoid excesses in the fight against separatist rebels in the province of Aceh. Speaking during a ceremony to mark the 58th anniversary of the Indonesian Armed Forces in Surabaya, Mrs Megawati said she was aware of civilian victims in the province. She said soldiers should remember that they were deployed in Aceh to assist the police in maintaining security and order.
Mrs Megawati said the government had only launched the anti-rebel military operation in Aceh on May 19, after negotiations with the separatist Free Aceh Movement failed. The military says more than 900 rebels have been killed since the operation began and 66 members of the security forces have died.