June 26, 2005 ——
The armed forces of GAM - TNA -
demands a full and immediate impartial investigation of the shooting near
Lamno Wednesday night of a Red Cross worker from Hong Kong.
has already blamed us for the incident. But according to reports from my
commanders in the area, none of our fighters were within 15 km of the
incident. There was also no armed clash, as Indonesia claims. However,
Indonesian troops do patrol the area day and night.
As GAM's spokesman explained in an
earlier statement, we Achenese have no motivation to shoot foreigners.
Since the tsunami, the Indonesian
government and military have tried to push the international community out
of the province, while holding on to the money. Indonesia does not want
foreigners poking around the politics of the place or finding out who is
responsible for the steady toll of tortured, murdered Achenese civilians.
For years, Indonesia has
sought to restrict foreign visitors, whether journalists, peace
monitors, human rights groups or anyone else.
Two years ago, Indonesian
soldiers shot to death a German bicycle tourist as he bedded down in
his tent on the beach. They jailed for four months a nosy Scottish
academic and a nurse from Iowa who treated victims of Indonesian
beatings. They kicked out a Japanese, a Korean and several other
photographers who tried to take photographs in the non-tsunami struck
During martial and civil emergency
rule, Indonesia denied entry to dozens of foreign journalist. They refused
to renew the visa of a highly respected Jakarta-based Australian journalist
who accurately reported that an Indonesian soldier poured boiling water on
an Achenese baby. They hunted, nearly killed and then jailed the only
foreign journalist brave enough to report from the front lines of the war.
For years, we Achenese and foreign
human rights groups have called for an international investigation into the
grave human rights abuses committed in our troubled homeland. Despite a
succession of Indonesian presidents promising to shed no more Achenese
blood, pull the troops out and put people responsible on trial, nothing has
changed. And the world was kept out.
Sadly, it has taken the tsunami to
bring the world here. We Achenese want the world to stay.
The shooting of a foreign relief
worker would seem to serve a dual purpose: driving the world away and making
GAM look bad. A prompt and proper investigation will establish the real
facts, not Indonesia's wishful fictions.
Prior statement (June 05, 2005)
Fearing the Presence of Foreign NGOs
statement in Singapore by the TNI chief General Endriartono
Sutarto does a grave and dangerous disservice to Achenese and Indonesians
General Endriartono falsely asserts that parts of GAM's military force are
against the current peace talks and that, in any case, GAM doesn't represent
the overwhelming majority of the Achenese people. What he is really saying
is the following: 'If GAM can't make the agreement work among its own forces
and among Achenese, why are we bothering with these stupid talks. Let's keep
irony of Endriartono's remarks and the danger they represent is profound.
Endriartono is in fact holding a mirror up to his side of the equation. His
accusation applies not to GAM but to his colleagues in the Indonesian
military. His military's creation of armed militia and the massacre of
thousands in East Timor in 1999 should warn us all of what
If any armed group is
going to stop the agreement from working in the field or at the table, it
will be the Indonesian military.
negotiators in Helsinki draw closer to a just settlement
between Acheneseand Indonesian sides of this long conflict, powerful
elements of the Indonesian military grow increasingly desperate. These men
become a danger to the cause of a just peace in Acheh. They become threat to
the extraordinary work of the Finnish mediators and to the recent
involvement of the European Union.
be clear: The general's comments are simply a new sly tactic to undermine
the enormous progress made in finding a new and sustainable accommodation
between Indonesia and Acheh after his attempts to factionalize
GAM's armed forces (TNA) in Acheh by bribing has failed. TNA is a united
armed forces and stand firmly behind its civil government in exile. Thus far
the Indonesian military has been unable to derail our unity and to stem the
tide of peace.
Endriartono's remarks raise the fundamental difference between
Indonesia's army of occupation and Acheh's army of national
liberation, the armed forces of GAM (TNA).
Indonesian soldiers come to a village, fear fills the eyes of an Achenese
family. The Indonesians soldiers come to kill, torture and rape, as they did
in East Timor and still do in West Papua and other provinces. Balinese,
Bugis, Javanese or any of the other peoples of the archipelago – share this
fear of Indonesia's 'defense forces.' Ordinary Indonesians are
potential allies of the Achenese struggle for justice and freedom.
comes from the Achenese people and fights for the Achenese people. Anyone
who has seen the faces of an Achenese family as a company of GAM fighters
arrives knows the difference. For the Achenese liberation army, there are
real smiles, not pretend ones. Whether figuratively or literally, they are
greeting sons, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunties; it is a reunion, a time
to celebrate survival against the odds.
so are the thousands of emergency workers who have now been to Acheh. That
is of course the answer to the question: Why does the Indonesian military
fear the presence of foreign NGOs? Why do they want the aid but not the
actual presence of thinking human beings? Answer: Because they know these
well-intentioned people will leave Acheh with an understanding of how the
Achenese feel about the Indonesian military.
become a truism: the Indonesian military has its own economic, political,
military and psychological interests in mind - and not those of the Achenese
or even their fellow Indonesians. From the natural gas tanks to skinny
chickens running around a poor farmer's shack, Acheh is a source of income,
a place to loot. The tsunami, the military hopes, is a godsend for them. The
foreign aid, a new source of loot. A peace agreement might deny them that
loot, leaving it to those Achenese who have lost so much.
Politically, a just settlement in Acheh would challenge the military's claim
to be the glue that holds Indonesia together. A just
settlement would mean reform in Indonesia has made headway. Militarily, such
a settlement shows the failure of the military's monthly claim: "Oh, just
wait and see, in six months, we'll have fixed those GAM bandits once and for
all.' How dumb and forgetful do they think the world is!
just settlement will bring a fair and objective accounting of what the
military has done to our people. A just settlement will let the tortured and
tattered and even the dead speak the truth for the world to know!
us justice and give us peace!
more information on this report, please contact Free Acheh Movement: Tel:
+46 (0) 8 531 83833, +46 (0) 8 531 91275, +46 (0) 70 699 3982.
C/O BOX 130, 145 01 Norsborg, Sweden.