Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Military In Aceh

Following up my post yesterday on the historical context of the conflict in Aceh there is more evidence of the obstructive role of the Indonesian military even in the midst of the huge relief operation there. Histologion has an interview with Alan Nairn whose exemplary coverage in 1998-99 of the crisis in East Timor in the bloody run-up to independence opened the world's eyes to Jakarta's brutal onslaught. Asked whether the Indonesian government will hamper disaster relief efforts and whether it will exploit the situation to further repress Acehnese political activists, here is Nairn's response:
Well, the Indonesian military is doing that as we speak. They are continuing to attack villages, more than a dozen villages in East Aceh and North Aceh away from the coast, even though General Susilo, the president of Indonesia, announced that they would be lifting the state of siege. He hasn't actually done it. And an Indonesian military spokesman came out and said, 'we will keep attacking until the President tells us to stop'.
The military is also impeding the flow of aid. They've commandeered a hangar at the Banda Aceh airport, where they are taking control of internationally shipped in supplies. We just got a report this afternoon that the distribution of supplies is being done in some towns and villages only to people who hold the 'red and white', which is a special ID card issued to Acehnese by the Indonesian police. You have to go to a police station to get one of these ID cards, and it is only issued to people who the police certify as not being opponents of the army, not being critics of the government. Of course many people are afraid to go and apply for such a card.
Read the rest (via Remain Calm)


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