Indonesia: June 4, 2003


The military's latest figures for the Aceh offensive claim 112 GAM rebels killed, 160 captured and 92 just plain giving up - while 10 soldiers, three police and one civilian have been killed. The rebels counterclaimed that scores of civilians and hundreds of government soldiers have been killed. 

Meanwhile, the UK's Foreign Office Minister said that future spare parts deals could be in danger if the Indonesian military uses their Hawk trainer/fighter jets on the rebels. The military used four Hawks on the first day of its Aceh offensive as close protection for transport planes, but allegedly did not mount any attacks with them. Britain supplied 24 planes in 1996, with the understanding they would not be used for offensive operations. 

In order to prevent the rebels from getting any more arms smuggled in, foreign ships without permits could be fired on if they came within 12 nautical miles of the Aceh shoreline. Exxon Mobil ships would not be affected.

Authorities also put three soldiers on trial for disobeying orders and battery, for allegedly beating civilians in the village of Lawang on May 27. They face 20 months in jail if convicted. Four more soldiers (including an officer) are expected to go on trial this week, for alleged abuses when troops interrogated villagers while searching for rebels. - Adam Geibel 



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