Military fires rockets in Aceh

Indonesia’s military said on Tuesday it had used helicopters to fire rockets at suspected rebel positions in Aceh province, forcing residents to flee their homes.

    Indonesia launched the latest
    attacks on Aceh in May

    The military had fired rockets from helicopters at several rebel position areas at Nisam in northern Aceh since Sunday, said military officials.

    “The aim of the strike is to prevent rebels from leaving their areas, it is not intended to kill,” said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Yani Basuki.

    He denied a report in the Jakarta Post which quoted residents as saying that jet fighters had been used.

    Basuki said the military had to evacuate residents whose villages were affected by the air strikes to designated refugee camps.

    He did not say how many were forced to leave their homes, but the Jakarta Post said about 10,000 people from three villages had been driven from their homes.

    Indonesia’s military in May declared martial law in Aceh and launched an all-out assault to crush Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist rebels, who have been fighting for independence since 1976.

    The Post reported that thousands of Aceh civil servants were on edge before a screening, set to start on Tuesday, to test their loyalty to the republic.

    Many had expressed concerns that the screening would land them in jail should they not pass it and said they were under pressure from both sides.


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