Mon, 30 Oct 2000

Aceh violence unabated

BANDA ACEH, Aceh: There has been no letup in the violence in Aceh since the humanitarian pause in the area was extended for four and a half months on Sept. 2, according to a human rights group.

The Aceh Human Rights Forum reported on Sunday nearly 250 people have died or gone missing and hundreds of buildings have been damaged since the extension was signed.

Making matters worse, tens of thousands of civilians have fled their homes over the last two months because of security concerns.

In its latest report, the forum said the fatalities included 113 civilians, 28 military and police personnel and 25 members of the separatist Free Aceh Movement, which has been struggling for independence since the 1970s.

The rights group also said at least 83 people, seven of them police officers, have gone missing over the past two months.

Continuing arson attacks have razed at least 546 houses, government offices and security and public facilities, the forum reported. (50/lup)