Subject: Activists Urge Military To Investigate Aceh Killings
also Report May Hit Bid To Lift US Military Ban
The Jakarta Post
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Activists Urge Military To Investigate Aceh Killings
Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The military should conduct an independent investigation to prove its
personnel were not involved in the killing of political activists in Aceh
as accused by US journalist Allan Nairn, activists said Friday.
"We strongly encourage the military to cooperate with the police
in conducting a thorough examination into the allegations. They could
summon Allan to testify and support his allegations," Usman Hamid of
the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) told
a press conference in Friday.
"The military needs to do that to avoid losing face. They have to
be able to prove they are innocent in this case," he added.
Otto Samsudin Ishak, a senior researcher from human rights NGO
Imparsial, also spoke at the press conference, saying the police could
take the initiative in conducting the investigation.
"If the police find indications of military involvement they could
then hand the suspects over to the military police for processing,"
He said it was reprehensible that neither the military nor the police
had taken such an initiative.
Denying Allan's allegation without conducting thorough investigation
into the case will only spark speculations, he added.
"I am afraid there might have been an agreement between the
police, the military and the Aceh local administration to not probe the
killings due to concerns it might implicate those institutions," he
Nairn, a freelance journalist, wrote in his personal blog that military
personnel from the special forces division, known as Kopassus, had
murdered eight political activists during the regional election in Aceh
"The killings were part of a secret government program authorized
by Jakarta, and were coordinated in part by an active-duty, US-trained
Kopassus special forces General who has acknowledged on record that his
TNI men had a role in the killings," he said.
Allan claimed in his report that he had received highly sensitive
information from several military officials who asked for anonymity.
The activists belonged to the Aceh Party, a political party that was
formed by former members of separatist group Free Aceh Movement.
According to Nairn, the activists were killed to prevent them from
bringing up the issue of Aceh independence during the elections.
Among those activists was Tumijan, a plantation worker at Nagan Raya,
Aceh, whose body was found near a river. His body had been mutilated and
his throat cut.
Another activist, Dedi Novandi, was shot in the middle of a street in
Nairn said these killings were orchestrated by a group of young
Kopassus officers along with their local militants.
Commenting on this, Kopassus Chief Maj. Gen. Lodewijk Freidrich Paulus
denied Kopassus' involvement, saying that the unit had not been assigned
to Aceh since the reform movement in 1998.
The military is also considering filing a legal complaint against
Nairn, who played down the threat.
"In today's Indonesia it can be a crime to report assassinations,
but, given that no generals have gone to prison for such murders, it is
not treated as a crime to commit them," Nairn said on his blog.
The Straits Times (Singapore)
Friday, March 26, 2010
Report May Hit Bid To Lift US Military Ban
Salim Osman, Indonesia Correspondent
Indonesian general rejects reporter's claim that troops had role in
JAKARTA: An American reporter has alleged that Indonesia's special
forces were behind a series of political killings and bombings in Aceh
The report by journalist Allan Nairn threatens to scuttle Jakarta's
hopes of getting the United States to lift a 12-year military training
ban for its special forces, Kopassus.
Writing on his blog on Sunday, Mr Nairn alleged that Kopassus was
responsible for the killing of eight Aceh Party activists in the run- up
to last April's provincial legislative polls to prevent the party from
seeking independence for Aceh.
He said it was 'part of a secret government programme, authorised from
Jakarta, coordinated in part by an active-duty, US-trained Kopassus
special forces general who has just acknowledged on the record that his
TNI men had a role in the killings'. TNI refers to the Indonesian armed
The US imposed the ban on military training cooperation over alleged
human rights abuses by Indonesian troops during their occupation of East
Timor, now known as Timor Leste. The issue would have been on the agenda
during US President Barack Obama's visit to Jakarta this month had the
trip not been postponed to June.
An Indonesian military delegation had visited Washington earlier this
month to lobby for the lifting of the ban and Indonesian media reported
there were signs the US might do so. But Mr Nairn's claims could dash
The Indonesian Army Chief of Staff, General George Touisutta, dismissed
them as 'nonsense', saying the military had not sent any elite force
members to Aceh since the historic 2005 Helsinki peace deal that ended
three decades of civil war in the province.
A former Kopassus commander, Major-General Soenarko, who headed the Aceh
military command last year, also dismissed the claims as 'slander and
In his blog report, Mr Nairn quoted senior officials, police officers,
wives of the murdered activists and Kopassus officers, including Maj-
Gen Soenarko, who he believed were involved in and responsible for the
He also named two soldiers and eight civilian members of TNI-linked
militias who were detained for the killings although the arrests were
Analysts say Mr Nairn is known for his investigative reports and his
report on the shooting of East Timorese protesters in Dili in 1991, the
so-called Dili massacre, led the US Congress to halt its aid for the
Indonesian armed forces.
Military spokesman Sagom Tamboen acknowledged there were a number of
assaults and murders during last year's elections but said they were the
result of rivalries among political parties.
Those cases, he added, were confirmed by the local authorities and the
police and there were no reports of assaults by Kopassus soldiers.
'I think this writing is aimed at the visit of (US President) Obama, so
as to disturb the partnership endeavours that have been nurtured by the
two countries,' he was quoted as saying by Kompas daily on Tuesday.
Military analyst Andi Widjajanto also doubted the veracity of the
report, saying no Kopassus soldiers had been posted to Aceh since the
2005 peace accord. 'In the Helsinki agreement, Indonesia must withdraw
military troops from Aceh. Kostrad (strategic reserves) and Kopassus
can't be deployed in Aceh,' said the analyst from the University of
Indonesia. 'If (Nairn's) article is true, Indonesia has committed
serious violations in Aceh.'
Other analysts say it is widely known that militiamen allied to the
Kopassus are still in Aceh, suggesting that the journalist's allegations
cannot be dismissed totally.
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