Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Fresh violence kills two soldiers

BANDA ACEH, Aceh (JP): It was business as usual after last weekend's peaceful rally when two military soldiers were killed and a police officer injured during the latest outbreak of violence in strife-torn Aceh, a police officer said on Monday.

Police special operation Cinta Meunasah spokesman Sr. Supt. Kusbini Imbar said that apart from a grenade attack that wounded Padang Tiji Police Subprecinct chief Sgt. Maj. Amir Husein, the security situation in the province was marked by the death of First Sgt. Hendrian Hafda after a fatal misunderstanding.

Kusbini said Army soldier Hendrian was killed in his burning car after a group of Mobile Brigade police officers fired shots at it on Jl. T. Nyak Makam here on Sunday evening when he evaded a security check.

Hendrian's relative, Evianti, and two other passengers survived the incident.

Aceh Police chief Brig. Gen. Chaerul R. Rasyidi has urged the police inspectorate to arrest the three officers who committed the shooting.

A military source also claimed to have found the body of an unidentified soldier in Lameu village, Sakti district in the Pidie regency, who had allegedly been killed by separatist rebels. Kusbini, however, would not confirm the report.

The attack on the residence of officer Amir took place on Monday morning. The house is located only 15 meters away from the Padang Tiji subprecinct office.

"Amir was about to leave his house for his office when a group of armed rebels threw a grenade at him," he added.

Amir was rushed to the Sigli General Hospital and remained in critical condition as of Monday evening.

Residents of Padang Tiji district, some 100 kilometers east of Banda Aceh, said they heard a strong explosion and later found Amir lying bleeding on the street in front of his house.

Separately, spokesman for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) Abu Razak denied his group's responsibility for the attack. But a man who claimed to be a member of GAM, Tengku Ishar, confirmed the attack to The Jakarta Post, saying it was in retaliation for the police's use of violence while conducting security checks on civilian residents.

A similar grenade attack by armed rebels also occurred at the subdistrict military command in Ule Glee village, Bandar Dua district, in Pidie, but no fatalities were reported.

In a related development, Taufik Abda, a member of the committee organizing Saturday's mass gathering for peace (SIRA RAKAN) said another program related to the rally would be held in the Darussalam complex in Banda Aceh on Tuesday.

Taufik said the result from a polling on the referendum in the province would be announced during the event. Earlier this month 2 million copies of ballots were distributed across the province, asking people to choose between independence and remaining a part of Indonesia. (50/51/lup)