TITLE=INDONESIA VIOLENCE (L-O)
INTRO: In a reminder of the precarious security
situation in Indonesia, two policemen were killed and
two others injured in a weekend attack blamed on
separatist rebels in Aceh province. Ron Corben
reports from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok,
analysts are fearful the violence in Aceh, together
with mounting religious bloodshed in Maluku, the
former Spice Islands, may spread.
TEXT: A weekend attack on a police station in
Indonesia's western Aceh province, left two officers
dead, erasing hopes violence in the troubled region
may have diminished as the Muslim holy month of
The attack was reported to have been carried out by
pro-independence rebels in Simpang Ulin in northern
Aceh. The assault occurred as the Jakarta Government
also grapples with increasing sectarian violence in
the eastern Maluku Islands.
But whereas the bloodshed in the Malukus has been
between Muslim and Christian communities, the toll in
Aceh has been directly linked to a decade old campaign
for independence from Jakarta.
Aceh has been witness to terrible atrocities, largely
blamed on Indonesian security forces whose aim was to
crush the separatist movement.
The violence triggered reprisals against both security
forces and Javanese relocated to Aceh as part of a
campaign by the government of former President Suharto
to ease population pressures on Java.
Although resource rich, many Acehenese are also
angered about the portion of the province's income
that goes to the central government.
But recently President Abdurrahmin Wahid and Vice
President Megawati Sukarnoputri's main attention has
been focussed on the rising terror of sectarian
bloodshed in the Malukus, the former Spice Islands,
23-hundred-kilometers east of Jakarta.
Jakarta was the center for massive rallies Friday as
up to 100-thousand Indonesian Muslims called for a
holy war against the Malukun Christian population.
More than 750-people are reported to have been killed
by violence in the Malukus during the past month.
Vice President Megawati has denied accusations the
government has failed to take action to halt the
The Indonesian navy says it blockaded the Maluku
Islands last week in a bid to halt the flow of weapons
into the province, but critics claim the move came too
Analysts, who had hoped for greater Indonesian
stability following President Wahid's election last
year, are warning the calls for a holy war could
spread. But the military, already sanctioned for
allegations of past human rights abuses is
increasingly reluctant to take firmer action.
Meanwhile, Arief Budiman of the University of
Melbourne also warns elements within the military are
prepared to allow the violence to continue. Mr.
Budiman says those elements hope increasing civil
unrest will strengthen their hand politically.
09-Jan-2000 11:30 AM EDT (09-Jan-2000 1630 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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