People celebrating GAM’s anniversary will be shot on sight

Sinar Harapan – December 3, 2004
Free Aceh Movement fighters (Kompasiana)
Free Aceh Movement fighters (Kompasiana)

Banda Aceh – In the lead up to the anniversary of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) security forces in Aceh have forbidden people from joining in the celebrations. If any civilians or GAM members are seen raising the Red Crescent Moon flag, GAM’s symbol, they will be shot on the spot. Journalists have who cover such activities will not be tolerated.

“We have given instructions to soldiers in the field to shoot all of them, whether they be rebels or civilians who participate in raising the flag”, said the commander of the Lilawangsa 011 District Military Command (Korem), Colonel A.Y. Nasution, in North Aceh on Thursday December 2.

He said that although there will be no special operation to prevent the celebration of the anniversary troops will still be ordered to patrol all areas. “None of the troops will have a break. All of them will be active”, he said.

Nasution explained that they had issued an instruction to shoot people on the spot whether they be members of GAM or civilians who are participating in raising the flag. They will also not tolerate journalists who cover GAM anniversary events. And if there are any journalists who cover such events security forces will not be responsible for their safety.

“If there are journalists who go in, the risk is their own resposiblility. So go ahead, but I have ordered that where there are such incidents, they will be fired on by artillery, small arms or aircraft”, he said.

Separately, the spokesperson for the Aceh Regional Civil Emergency Administrator (PDSD), chief commander Sayed Hoesainy, told Sinar Harapan on Friday that he had pleaded with and forbidden people not to be influenced by or participate in GAM’s anniversary events. “The TNI [armed forces] and police will increase its patrol activities in places which are suspected to GAM anniversary sites, he said.

Hoesainy admitted that so far they still do not have data on the location of the main anniversary event as they did last year. However according to estimates, GAM anniversary events will be organised in the remaining black zones. “I estimate that this year GAM’s anniversary will not be like the previous year. We have almost all trouble spots under control”, he revealed.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second section of the report covered an earlier fatal shooting of seven GAM members by TNI forces.]