Wed, 10 Sep 2003

Police say rebel killed 3 civilians

BANDA ACEH, Aceh: Aceh Police said on Tuesday that they had arrested a suspected rebel, Puji Abdullah, 21, who had confessed to killing a woman and two of her daughters in the war-torn province.

"According to Puji Abdullah, the killing was because the victims were too close to the Indonesian Military," Pidie Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Agussalim alleged.

The victims were identified as Aminah binti Abubakar, 60, Samsidar binti Sarwan, 35, and Herawati Binti Sarwan, 25. Another daughter, Rosmita Binti Sarwan, was in hospital with serious injuries.

Agussalim said four gunmen entered Aminah's house in Baroh Ujung village, Bandar Baru subdistrict, Pidie regency, on Monday night and shot and killed the three women.

He said another nine members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) were involved. "We are hunting them."

However, the spokesman for GAM in Pidie, Elwe Dela Moertila, denied the rebel group had targeted Acehnese civilians.

The latest deaths bring the number of civilians killed in Aceh to at least 290 -- according to National Police -- as of Tuesday, the 114th day of martial law in Aceh.

Police say 551 rebels and 15 police officers have also been killed in the same period. --JP