Indonesian army claims more rebel deaths

The Indonesian army on Thursday claimed to have killed nine more rebels in its troubled Aceh province.

    Indonesian army claims major successes in its drive against the rebels

    In a statement, the military said the rebels of the Free Aceh Movement(GAM) were killed in separate firefights on Wednesday. An Ak-47 rifle and some ammunition were also recovered by the troops.

    Into the third month of its renewed offensive against the GAM, the Indonesian army claims to have killed more than 500 rebels so far.

    Jakarta launched its war against the GAM rebels on May 19, triggering a fresh round of bloodshed in an already troubled region.

    The GAM has been battling government forces to secure Aceh’s independence from Indonesian rule.

    But claims made by the Indonesian army about inflicting heavy rebel casualties were questioned Wednesday.

    Underlining growing concerns that ordinary civilians could be getting caught in the crossfire, the International Crisis Group said there was no way to ascertain whether those killed were really combatants.

    It also said the military assault was only alienating ordinary Acehnese and fuelling support for the GAM.

    Monitoring

    Another Acehnese activist group demanded international monitors to protect civilians.

    The Aceh Referendum Information Centre urged ambassadors of friendly countries to send monitoring teams to the region to prevent human rights abuses.

    The Centre said it had registered 1,055 cases of violence against civilians during the first four weeks of the current offensive.

    It also said 157 civilians were killed during the same period without mentioning which side was responsible.

    Ever since the demand for independence first erupted in 1976, Aceh has been dogged by intermittent violence. 

    More than 10,000 people are said to have died in the violence to date.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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