Published on 8th January 2019 by

Lawless Aceh (2002) – Both military excess and separatist frustration plague war-torn Aceh, the northern region of Indonesia that wants to follow in East Timor’s footsteps.

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Indonesian police are scouring the region for suspected separatists, known as GAM. Indonesia’s most wanted is Ishak Daud, GAM spokesman in East Aceh. He says the separatists are “protected by the people, funded by the people”. But villagers here pay a high price for this support. The military burn houses and kill indiscriminately in response to rebel ambushes. Meanwhile life is sweet for the military’s top brass, like Maj. Gen. Mangaberani, who dismisses the rebels as thugs, “schooled in terrorism”. He wants to see an end to the Free Aceh movement this year, but his vicious and corrupt troops are winning few hearts and minds.

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