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Bomb kills nine in Peureulak, Aceh BANDA ACEH - A bomb explosion has killed nine people and injured 20 at an open-air New Year celebration, where hundreds had gathered, in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province. A military spokesman in Aceh on Thursday blamed the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) for the blast. GAM, which has fought for independence for the gas-rich province since 1976, could not be reached for comment.
The spectators had gathered in a public field for a music show on Wednesday in the town of Peureulak, 1,600 km (960 miles) northwest of Jakarta, when the bomb, planted near the stage, exploded. "Nine civilians died and more than 20 suffered heavy injuries after the blast," Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Yani Basuki told Reuters. "It was quite a big bang and we feel very concerned because all of the victims were enjoying a New Year's Eve music show."
Indonesia's police chief had warned on Tuesday that Islamic militants might launch attacks on New Year's Eve. However, beside the Aceh blast, no other major violence occurred in the world's largest Muslim nation. Last May, the Indonesian government launched an offensive against GAM and imposed martial law in the province, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, after peace talks with the rebels collapsed.
The military says it has killed or captured about 2,000 GAM members in the offensive -- a statement difficult to verify because of travel curbs on the media and others in Aceh.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 01 January 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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