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Indonesia safe so far, except for Aceh JAKARTA - As police tightened security across Indonesia amid fears of attacks by Islamic extremists over the festive season, there were no reports of sectarian violence or terrorist bombings on Christmas Eve, while Christmas Day has been peaceful so far. The only reports of major violence came from rebellious Aceh province, where the military said at least 14 people were killed over recent days.
Aceh military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Yani Basuki on Thursday (25/12/03) was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying six separatist rebels and a marine were killed during a clash in Bireuen district on Wednesday. He said troops in East Aceh district shot dead two members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) on the same day, while another rebel was slain during a clash in Southwest Aceh.
In North Aceh, villagers on Wednesday found the body of a dead man with gunshot wounds, he added. On Tuesday, a suspected GAM member was shot dead during a raid in Bireuen district at about midnight, said the spokesman. Also on Tuesday, soldiers shot dead three suspected rebels during two incidents in East Aceh district, he said.
Another five rebels were arrested during raids while 15 others surrendered to authorities across the province, he added. Basuki also said rebels on late Tuesday shot and seriously wounded a former GAM member who had surrendered in West Aceh.

Terror Alert

Indonesian and Western officials have warned that members of regional terrorism network Jemaah Islamiyah could target churches, embassies, bars and other buildings over the Christmas-New Year holiday period. Approximately 166,000 police officers, about two-thirds of the National Police force, are being deployed nationwide to safeguard the festivities.
In Bali, provincial police chief Inspector General Made Mangku Pastika warned that terrorists might be planning further attacks. Jemaah Islamiyah bombed two nightclubs in Bali on October 12, 2002, killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
In Jakarta, more than 22,000 police and 1,000 soldiers guarded strategic areas over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as thousands of Christians attended church services. Protection was also provided by members of Banser Anshor, the youth security wing of the nationís largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama.
At several churches, all visitors were required to pass through metal detectors and were then frisked. Vehicles parked outside churches were also checked. By mid-afternoon Christmas Day, heavy rain was falling over much of Jakarta and there had been no reports of any terror attacks in the city or elsewhere in Indonesia. Nineteen people were killed on Christmas Eve 2000, when Jemaah Islamiyah bombed 11 churches and priestsí residences across the country.
In North Sulawesi and East Java, several Muslim youth groups joined forces with police on Christmas Eve to provide security at churches and other public buildings. In connection with the Christmas celebration, justice authorities granted traditional remissions to 5,612 Christian prisoners. Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Izha Mahendra, presiding over a ceremony at the Womenís Prison in Tangerang, west of Jakarta, said 5,344 of the prisoners receiving remissions still had to serve time, while 268 would be released.



Posted in Human rights @ 25 December 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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