TITLE=INDONESIA / ACEH (L-ONLY)
/// 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
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
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)
02-Nov-1999 12:23 PM EDT (02-Nov-1999 1723 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list