SIRA offices in Aceh attacked and vandalised by militia

Tempo Interactive – February 17, 2006
Aceh Referendum Information Center members (Lintas Nasional)
Aceh Referendum Information Center members (Lintas Nasional)

Imran MA, Banda Aceh – The Blang Pidie representative offices of the Aceh Referendum Information Center (SIRA) in West Aceh was attacked by a group of around 100 militia on Friday February 17. All of the office equipment including a typewriter, radio and other materials were destroyed. The office is now under a tight police guard.

When contacted by Tempo, SIRA’s presidium chairperson Muhammad Nazar said that based on information from Saharuddin, the head of the Blang Pidie representative office, the attack occurred at 10.30am. The attackers arrived in a truck and minibus.

“They destroyed office equipment including a radio, typewriter, and took two bags owned by SIRA personnel inside of which were documentation and records of meetings”, said Nazar. He added that among the militia group a SIRA member saw a police intelligence officer whose face they know well.

After vandalising the office and pushing SIRA staff members around, the group demanded that SIRA be disbanded. Not long afterwards, police arrive to secure the location. “The police took photographs and data, perhaps as material evidence”, said Nazar.

The militia group also went to the local Regional House of Representatives where they asked the people’s representatives to support them in having the non-government organisation (SIRA) disbanded.

[Translated by James Balowski.]