Government must acknowledge existence of Aceh militia groups

Source – June 13, 2006
Rusdi Marpaung (left) pictured with Munir Said Thalib (KBR)
Rusdi Marpaung (left) pictured with Munir Said Thalib (KBR)

Chazizah Gusnita, Jakarta – Non-government organisations (NGOs) are urging the government to immediately acknowledge the existence of militia groups in Aceh. Without such an acknowledgement, the reintegration process in Aceh will be obstructed.

“Without there being an acknowledgement and a thoroughgoing process [to deal with] the militia, then the reintegration process in Aceh will be further obstructed”, said Aceh Working Group (AWG) coordinator Rusdi Marpaung at the office of Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) on Jl. Diponegoro in the Central Jakarta district of Menteng on Tuesday June 13.

Marpaung also said that the formation of the militia could not be separated from the involvement of the state. Conversely there has been no acknowledgement from the government, even though the fact is that militia members were recruited from villages, given a license to carry arms and trained by the military.

One such example is the Red-and-White Youth Movement (GPMP) whose activities cover the regencies of Banda Aceh, Greater Aceh and Eastern Aceh. GPMP, which has a membership of 10,000, was establish on August 19, 2003 and headed by then Aceh governor Abdullah Puteh and Helfizar Ibrahim.

Similar concerns were also expressed by Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) coordinator Rafendi Djamin who said it was the government itself that trained these militia groups.

The government has also carried out a re-mobilisation and sown confusion within the Aceh Reintegration Agency (BRA) in the name of the Defenders of the Fatherland (Peta). “If indeed this is a militia groups, it is improper for it to become part of the structure of the BRA”, explained Djamin.

According to the NGO data, there are at least 21 militia groups in Aceh that were formed by the government. These include the Front for the Struggle Against GAM (FPSG), the Republic of Indonesia Acehnese Resistance Front (FPRARI), the Republic of Indonesia Acehnese Saviours Front (FPARI), the Defence Militia for the Unitary State of Indonesia (LPNKI) and the People’s Movement Against Aceh Separatists (GRASA).

There are also other militia groups such as the People’s Fortress Against Separatism (BRAS), the People’s Resistance Front for the Defence of Teuku Umar (FPPRTU), the Resistance Movement Against Teuku Peukan GAM Separatists (GPSGTP), the Mass Organisation for the Defence of NKRI, the Red-White Defenders Front (FPMP), the Anti Free Aceh Movement Red-and-White Militia (LMPAGAM) and the Anti Free Aceh Movement Front (FAGAM). (zal)

[Translated by James Balowski.]