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DATE=11/2/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDONESIA / ACEH (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255738 BYLINE=PATRICIA NUNAN DATELINE=JAKARTA CONTENT= VOICED AT: /// Re-issuing to delete fifth graf of text, beginning: "The troops' rampage comes ..." and ending: "had been deployed in Aceh" Deletes reference to removal of Indonesian troops from Aceh /// INTRO: Demonstrators in Indonesia's northern province of Aceh set fire to a local assembly- building and a police post during a protest to demand a referendum be held to allow the people decide whether the province should break free of Indonesia. As Patricia Nunan reports from Jakarta, the violence follows an announcement by Indonesia's new president that it is too soon to consider a ballot on the province's political future. TEXT: There are conflicting reports about the number of people injured in the protest in the Acehnese city of Meubolah, 17 hundred kilometers northwest of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. Some witnesses say several people were hurt when the protesters set the local assembly building and police-post on fire. A local military official says one man was injured when police shot into the air in an attempt to quell the violence. At least five thousand protesters took to the streets of Meulaboh in response to comments made by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid Monday that it is too soon to consider holding an independence referendum in Aceh. In another sign of increasing tension, at least 36 houses were burnt down and 136 people were arrested after Indonesian troops reportedly attacked several villages in the north of the province. A local commander of the Indonesian military said he believed the attacks were revenge for the death of a soldier allegedly killed by rebels from the Free Aceh Movement. Mr. Wahid has made ending the separatist violence in Aceh one of his main priorities since he was elected president two weeks ago. The president opened discussions with leaders of the Free Aceh Movement Sunday. Separatist rebels began waging a low-intensity campaign for independence of Aceh in the 1970's. Indonesian troops launched a crackdown on the separatists in 1989. But instead of crushing the movement, analysts say the military's tactics in Aceh have only fueled demands for independence. Human rights officials say at least two thousand people have been killed or have simply disappeared at the hands of the military since the crackdown began. Another 150 thousand people have been displaced. In the latest incident of military cruelty, a government fact-finding team revealed Sunday that soldiers executed 50 unarmed civilians in the Acehnese village of Beteung Ateuh last July. Demands for an independence referendum have also been on the rise in Aceh because of the government's willingness to hold an independence vote in the disputed territory of East Timor. The ballot led to East Timor's winning independence from Indonesia last month. (Signed) NEB/PN/GC/KL 02-Nov-1999 12:23 PM EDT (02-Nov-1999 1723 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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