Jakarta claims successes over Aceh rebels

The Indonesian offensive against Aceh has forced separatist rebels on the defensive, with guerilla commanders moving base to the cities and top leaders fleeing to neighbouring countries, according to military sources Jakarta.

    Indonesia’s military spokesman in the regional capital Banda Aceh Colonel Ditya Sudarsano said the rebels were increasingly being cornered and were fast running out of ammunition.

      

    He said that clashes were becoming briefer and the rebels were usually fleeing after firing just a few shots.

     

    Rebels leave country

     

    "The area field commanders are also believed to have now fled to the cities and towns," he said, while the top leaders of the movement had now fled to other countries including Malaysia.

     

    He said the information about the move of the commanders to urban areas and the depletion of ammunition stocks were obtained from tapped telephone conversations between rebels on the battlefield and their leaders in urban centres.

     

    Indonesian troops exult
    in their victories

    Sudarsano said that 255 rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) had been killed as of Sunday. 

      

    Another 535 rebels had been detained, including 222 who had surrendered to the security authorities since the military offensive was launched on 19 May.

      

    The toll among soldiers and police remained unchanged at 25 and three killed respectively.

      

    The Indonesian military is into the second month of a major offensive against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) after the government put Aceh under martial law on 19 May.

      

    More than 170 civilians have also died in the offensive, a human rights group has reported.

      

    Both the military and GAM, which have been fighting since 1976, have accused each other of human rights violations in the current offensive.


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