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Guardian on massacre in Idi, Aceh (

Subject: Guardian on massacre in Idi, Aceh (fwd)

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The Guardian, 5 February, 1999
John Aglionby in Jakarta

INDONESIAN soldiers and police fired into a crowd of thousands of
people return-ing from an Islamic prayer meeting in the north
Suma-tran province of Aceh, killing dozens and injuring more than
100, human rights activists said yesterday. 

Some of dozens of people arrested during the incident on Wednesday
at Idi Cut, about 950 miles north-west of Jakarta, were reportedly
thrown over a bridge 15 miles away into a raging river. 

The claims were dismissed by army commander Colonel Johnny Wahab as
"idle rumours". He said the death toll was "two, possibly three" and
that the 5,000 people who had gathered in Idi Cut were sympathisers
of the Aceh Independence Movement. Yacob Hamzah, director of the
legal aid office in Lhokseu-mawe, 50 miles west of Idi Cut, said the
number of casu-alties was unclear. 

A local man said people started walking home quietly after the
religious service fin-ished at around midnight. "As they went past
the local army base the soldiers started throwing stones. No one
responded because they were too afraid to do anything. 

"The soldiers then opened fire at the street lights, plunging
everything into darkness. They then turned on the crowd," he said,
adding that several women were raped by soldiers. 

Col Wahab admitted that the police, who he said had been reinforced
by more than 100 soldiers, opened fire, bul said it was only after
people three stones at the police station. "The police were
pro-voked and thought they were going to be attacked by thou-sands
of separatists," he said. 

Maimul Fidar, co-ordinator of the Forum of Aceh Non--Governmental
Organisations said there was evidence that some people were thrown
off a bridge near the village of Arakundo. 

"People there have told me that about half an hour after the news
reached them of the incident at Idi Cut they heard lots of

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ TAPOL, the Indonesia
Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7
8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email:
tapol@xxxxxxxxxx Campaigning to expose human rights violations in
Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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