Red White Militia member surrenders grenade to GAM

Aceh Kita – November 22, 2005
Free Aceh Movement member surrenders weapons to AMM (VOA)
Free Aceh Movement member surrenders weapons to AMM (VOA)

Imran MA, Eastern Aceh – On Monday November 21, Muhammad Nurdin (43), a resident of the Buket Paka village who has been a member of the Rantau Peureulak sub-district Red White Militia (Laskar Merah Putih, LMP) in Eastern Aceh, surrendered a hand grenade to a former member of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) for the Peureulak region.

The grenade was surrendered at around 10am in the village of Blang Baroem and received directly by Teungku Zakaria, the GAM commander for the Nurul A’la region (sagoe), sub-district Rantau Peureulak.

Speaking to journalists, Nurdin said that his motivation for surrendering the grenade to a GAM member was not because of pressure by anyone. “Purely because [I] see that GAM and the TNI [Indonesian military] are already at peace. So this weapon is no longer need”, he said.

Nurdin admitted that the grenade was a gift from a TNI member and combat Babinsa [non-commissioned military officer posted in villages and wards] that was under the control of the operational unit (BKO) of the Rantau Peureulak sub-district military command headquarters of Eastern Aceh.

It was not just Nurdin that was given grenades by TNI soldiers at that time. Three other friends of his, Irwan Alamsyah (the commander of LMP), Piyus  Zainuddin alias Wak Itam (a resident of Buket Pala) and Alaidin Ansyar (a resident of Pasir Putih), were also given grenades by the TNI. “They were given [to us] to safeguard ourselves. I have never used it”, admitted Nurdin.

Husband to Susilawati, he joined LMP because he was enticed by a wage of 400,000 rupiah per month. During this time he was also active in hunting down GAM members. One of the spectacular actions undertaken by LMP was taking the family of a GAM guerrilla hostage after a local resident was taken hostage.

Handed over to AMM

Former GAM spokesperson for Peureulak, Tjut Kafrawi, appealed to the LMP members and other fronts formed to hunt down GAM members to surrender their weapons to the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM).

Lhokseumawe AMM member Hughes Brian Joseph arrived at the location where the grenade was surrendered at around 3pm along with two other AMM members. GAM handed Nurdin and the grenade over to Joseph.

According to Joseph, the AMM will inform the AMM’s TNI representative and the AMM’s central office in Banda Aceh about the grenade. Following this he said, it would be destroyed. [dzie]

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]