Jan 5, 2005

Aceh Ceasefire Begins to Fall Apart

The temporary ceasefire declared immediately after the 26 December earthquake and tsunami between the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) is beginning to fall apart. There are increasing concerns that the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) are using the tsunami disaster in Aceh to crack down on the province’s separatist movement, the military has claimed that troops are needed to stop rebels from “infiltrating” refugee camps, stealing aid and carrying out attacks.

Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) are accusing Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) of ambushing a convoy that had been delivering humanitarian relief to a distribution point in East Aceh district and of intercepting a separate convoy delivering medical aid to Malayati village in Aceh Besar district.

(This attack in East Aceh was reported by us on 4 January)

Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) are accusing Indonesian soldiers in the field of harassing GAM sympathizers and imposing ridiculous conditions such as producing identity cards and/or charging for food that is meant to be distributed as relief aid. Those who fail to present their ID papers are harassed and beaten up.

As the situation becomes more tense, a statement has been issued by TNI headquarters saying it is now deploying an additional 3,424 reinforcements to Aceh to assist with “humanitarian operations”

more details as they become available....

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