319 civilians killed and 108 disappeared in Aceh

Kompas – September 5, 2003
Brimob officer fires into crowd in Aceh (isbahannur)
Brimob officer fires into crowd in Aceh (isbahannur)

Banda Aceh – At least 319 civilians have been killed, 108 disappeared and 117 others have been wounded since the military emergency in Aceh came into force on May 19.

This is according to data from the Aceh Police Operational Command up until Thursday September 4. “The 319 people which have been killed are civilians, [and this includes] both those who had identification and those who did not”, said Chief Superintendent Sayed Hoesainy, spokesperson for the Acehnese local police.

This is the first time that data compiled on civilian casualties has been released since the military emergency in Aceh came into force 109 days ago. Previously, the information office of the regional emergency military command (PDMD) in Banda Aceh had only provided data on casualties who were [usually] referred to as members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), without [providing precise] data on civilian casualties.

In a statement the day before, marshal law administration spokesperson Navy Colonel Ditya Soedarsono stated that 806 rebels had been killed since the military operation began. Aside from this, 598 had been arrested and 465 others had given themselves up. There have been TNI members killed including 16 who’s death was not a result of combat operations.


With regard to the 319 civilian casualties who have been killed, according to Sayed they were found dead at a number of locations. Sayed did not say whether these casualties were GAM members or not, but referred to them as local people or civilians.

[Sayed said that] police need to conduct an investigation to determine the perpetrators. However Sayed said that in general it is GAM who are the perpetrators. Most of the victims came from the areas under the legal jurisdiction of the North Aceh police (91), followed by East Aceh (67), Central Aceh (42), South Aceh (36), Greater Aceh (24), Pidie (24), West Aceh (18), Banda Aceh (13), South-East Aceh (3) and Sabang (1). With regard to the 108 people who have disappeared, he said that they are still the subject of a search. They include RCTI journalist Ersa Siregar and camera operator Feri Santoro, their driver Rahmatsyah and two wives of TNI officers [who were traveling with the journalist when they were abducted by GAM].

Brimob soldier killed

On Thursday meanwhile, a member of the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) originating form the West Sumatra local police was killed in an armed contact with GAM in the Leupung area of Greater Aceh.

Sayed said that the fire fight occurred when a Brimob group were planing to ambush five GAM personnel at a house in the village of Masjid in the Leupung sub-district. “There was information which mentioned that there was an armed group at the house so the Leupung sectoral police were sent to the location”, he said.

Before arriving at the house however, they were fired upon. The armed contact, which continued for around 15 minutes, resulted in the death of First Brigadier (sic) Alex Masriadi (23), a member of the West Sumatra local police. Meanwhile the GAM fighters faded into the jungle surrounding the village. The latest news is that two GAM members were killed. “However I have not yet obtained a detailed report on the matter”, said Sayed. (NJ)

[Translated by James Balowski.]