Operation to restore security in Aceh has yet to stop separatism

Kompas – November 10, 2004
Security Minister Widodo AS (dunia-narkoba)
Security Minister Widodo AS (dunia-narkoba)

Jakarta – The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Widodo AS, has admitted that the operation to restore security in Aceh, as one of five programs which make up the integrated operation under the state of civil emergency, has not been able to fully overcome the problems of separatism in the region.

Widodo was speaking after opening a workshop for the Attorney General Supervisory Commission on Tuesday November 11 which was attended by the Attorney General Rahman Saleh and the executive director of Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia, HS Dillon.

“Over the last five months it has to be admitted that the launch of the integrated security operation has not yet fully resolved the problems of separatism. This is because there are still around 2400 people (Free Aceh Movement/GAM fighters) with an armed forces of 800”, said Widodo.

According to Widodo this situation must be seen as a phenomena which indicates that the operation to restore security has in fact not yet fully resolved the separatist issue in Aceh.

Widodo said there were at least three pre-conditions which would have to be met if it is to be said that separatism in Aceh had been resolved. The first would be after the leaders of the separatist movement had surrendered, when the follows of GAM have surrendered and after they have laid down their arms.


Widodo went on to add that his office would be reporting the results of their evaluation on the state of civil emergency in Aceh to the president this week. This evaluations is necessary bearing in mind that the civil emergency will end on November 18.

“We have already gathered a great deal of material for us to then make an evaluation. We will be presenting the results in the form of a recommendation which will then be decided on by the president in relation to Aceh’s status after the state civil emergency [comes to an end]”, he said.

According to Widodo, there are a number of formulations which may be recommended to the president. The alternatives include extending the civil emergency, maintaining the state of emergency in specific parts of the province or replacing the state of emergency with a civil authority which will continue to accommodate the operation to restore security.

“We must look at the realities on the ground. The five elements of the integrated operation, the humanitarian operation, restarting the wheels of government, economic recovery, law enforcement and the restoration of security, have certainly had results and in general provide a positive picture although it must continue to be improved”, he said. (DWA)

[Translated by James Balowski.]