Top Aceh rebel leader surrenders

Three separatist rebels including a senior leader have surrendered to the army in the Indonesian province of Aceh, the military said on Thursday.

    Indonesia is in the second phase of offensive against Aceh rebels

    Troops also shot dead three guerrillas and captured five, said provincial military spokesman Ahmad Yani Basuki.

      

    He said Ibrahim Syafei, the Free Aceh Movement's 'governor' for the western district of Meulaboh, gave himself up in Meulaboh on Wednesday and is being well treated.

      

    Basuki said the surrender was arranged after Syafei contacted the authorities through public figures in his home village of Blang Balee.

     

    Shot dead

      

    Two other guerrillas surrendered at Leupung in Aceh Besar district on Wednesday.

      

    Basuki said troops shot dead three rebels in separate locations in Aceh Besar on Wednesday while soldiers captured five rebels in Aceh Besar and North Aceh the same day.

      

    Suspected rebels shot dead a civilian at Mane in Pidie district on Wednesday, he added.

      

    Indonesia is in the second phase of a major military offensive launched in May to crush the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), which has been fighting for independence since 1976.

     

    Indonesian soldiers upbeat in
    war against Aceh separatists

    The military says more than 1100 rebels have been killed while over 2000 others were captured or surrendered.

      

    Officials have suggested that GAM officials who surrender should in future be granted amnesty, although no decision has been announced.

      

    Hundreds of alleged rebels or sympathisers who were captured or who surrendered earlier in the operation have been put on trial, with some given long jail terms.

      

    Basuki said an investigation has been launched into an accident involving an armoured car which killed a cameraman from the private Indosiar television station and seriouly injured a journalist from the same station.

      

    He said the rear axle of the armoured car broke and it plunged into a ravine, killing the cameraman and injuring six others including soldiers.

    SOURCE: AFP


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