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Dutch student shot in Aceh BANDA ACEH - Less than two weeks after the shooting of a Hong Kong aid worker, a Dutch student was shot while traveling in a car in Aceh, child activists and police said on Friday. Azmiati Zuliati, a staffer at the Center for Child Protection, said that 24-year-old Marije Mellegers was shot in Krue Kluet village in Tapak Tuan at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Mellegers, who was in Aceh for a study on children in the tsunami-wrecked province. was traveling to Meulaboh with seven staff members of the center, including Azmiati. Azmiati said a number of unidentified people sprayed bullets from the right side of the Kijang van she and her group were traveling in around one kilometer from a police post. "I heard more than 10 shots. Marije was sitting at the back and she was hit by two bullets in her calf," Azmiati said.

The student was rushed to Kuta Fajar Hospital in South Aceh, before being transferred to the Gleneagles International Hospital in Medan, the capital of the neighboring North Sumatra province. A spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Friday that Mellegers was in a stable condition. Aceh Police accused the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) members of perpetrating the shooting.

"Based on our investigation, Marije only suffered minor injuries to her arms and thighs from glass shards of the car's windows. She was shot by GAM," spokesman for the Aceh Police Sr. Comr. Joko Turohman Joko told The Jakarta Post. His account of the incident did not collaborate with Azmiati's statement that she suffered two gunshot wounds.

He said Mellegers had reported her presence in the province to the police. Aceh has been open to foreigners following the lifting of a one-year civil emergency in mid May. South Aceh military chief Lt. Col. Jumhur Ismail also blamed the separatists for the attack. GAM denied responsibility for the incident, saying Mobile Brigade (Brimob) Police personnel were behind the shooting. Another rebel said Brimob officers who were patrolling the area had perpetrated the attack.

A Hong Kong woman working for the Red Cross, Eva Yeung, was shot and wounded while traveling to an aid distribution point in Aceh on June 28. Rebels and security authorities blamed each other for the attack. Both the government and the rebels group are gearing up for a key round of peace talks in Helsinki next week to end the three-decade armed conflict in the natural resource-rich province.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 08 July 2005 09:54 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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