Indonesian army kills Aceh rebels

Indonesian troops say they have killed 15 Aceh separatist rebels during firefights over the weekend.

    The Indonesian army is trying to wipe out GAM rebels

    The military said on Monday it killed five suspected fighters from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in two

    gunbattles in Bireuen district on Sunday.

    Military spokesman Ahmand Yani Basuki said marines seized an AK-47 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition after killing another suspected rebel in Langsa town on Saturday. 

    And nine other rebels died during further firefights over the weekend, the army claimed.

    "We seized GAM evidence from the hands of the deceased, while their colleagues fled with their weapons," Basuki said.

    Military offensive

    The military says it has killed 780 rebels and seized 340 guerrilla firearms since 19 May, when it launched an all-out offensive aimed at wiping out GAM.

    According to the military, more than 1700 rebels have been arrested or have surrendered since then.

    Civilians have been in the

    front-

    line of the Aceh war 

    The army says 59 police and soldiers have died during the operation.

    However, the Aceh Referendum Information Centre said 391 civilians were victims of "extrajudicial killings" during the first three months of the military operation.

    The centre, which wants an independence referendum in the province, did not say which side it believed was responsible for the deaths.

    Abuses

    It said it had recorded 2,188 cases of violence against civilians, including the 391 deaths, for the same period.

    The conflict in Aceh has led to global condemnation, with human rights groups accusing both sides of gross abuses.

    On the northern-tip of the Sumatra islands, Aceh has been wracked by violence since the demand for its independence from Indonesian rule surfaced in 1976.

    More than 10,000 people have died in the ensuing violence.

    SOURCE: AFP


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