Teungku Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba
From: ASNLF Negotiating Team
Category: Acheh Tsunami
Time: 14:40:22 -0500
Kindly note that the late Teungku Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba WAS NOT DEPUTY
POLITICAL LEADER OF GAM. There is no such post in the structure of GAM,
ASNLF or The State of Acheh Government in Exile.
The late Sofyan Tiba was the LEGAL ADVISER and Chief Negotiator of the
Acheh Part of the ASNLF Negotiating Team in the Geneva Talks.
As is well known to most of those dealing with Acheh, the Henri Dunant
Centre had arranged two teams for the ASNLF negotiating team for the
Peace Talks in Geneva. One based in Stockholm, the other based at Kuala
Tripa in Banda Acheh. Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba was the Chief of the Kuala
Tripa Team. The overal chief of the ASNLF Team was Dr. Zaini Abdullah
based in Stockholm.
It is true, the death of Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba is a great loss not only to
GAM but for the people of Acheh. As a university law lecturer, he was
very much loved. His legal explanations were always accompanied with
hilarious humour. He termed the relationship between Acheh and
Indonesia, for example, as that of an illicit relationship between a man
and a woman that has gone on for so long that it has produced
illegitimate children, he used the Javanese term for it: kumpul kebo
(water buffalo mating). In a lecture at the Kuala Lumpur National
University (UKM) he started with saying that everywhere he went he found
things in Acheh as being always the reverse. In Norwegia none of the
Achehnese has any job, but they all have salaries. In Acheh many have
jobs but no pay. In Malaysia he said he saw many bridges without rivers,
in Acheh many rivers without bridges.
May Allah give him the best place he richly deserves. Amin.
Member of ASNLF Negotiating Team
Rebel Chief Killed When Waves Hit Jail
Separatist leader among hundreds of inmates who died, says Aceh activist
BARADAN KUPPUSAMY in Penang, Malaysia
A key leader of the Aceh separatist movement was among hundreds
of prisoners who died when the tsunami devastated a jail in the
Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba, the deputy political leader of the Free Aceh
Movement (GAM), was being held in Kuda jail in the wrecked city of Banda Aceh
when the waves struck.
"I am very sure Sofyan is dead because I talked to his son and the
family confirm he is dead," said Lesley McCulloch, a western activist who
supports the separatists.
"My sources say most of the prison population died when the tsunami hit.
About half of the prison was washed away."
Sofyan, 57, was among 600 inmates at the jail who were mainly separatist
sympathisers, New Zealander Ms McCulloch said.
"He was very senior. He is a big loss to GAM," said Ms McCulloch, who
has spent several months in an Indonesian jail for her activities in support
of the separatists.
Sofyan had been the chief negotiator for the separatists in peace talks
with the government early last year. They have demanded self-rule for Aceh,
whose people have long claimed that Jakarta exploits the resource-rich
Sofyan was among five rebel negotiators arrested in May last year.
Soon after the arrests Jakarta launched a huge offensive against rebel
forces. Sofyan was handed a 15-year jail term for treason.
Five other leaders who had been held at the Kuda jail were moved to a
prison on the main Java island in the middle of this year, Ms McCulloch said.
"Usually the prison cells are opened at about 9am to let the prisoners
into the courtyard for them to walk and exercise," she said.
"The earthquake and tsunami happened before the prison cell doors were
opened. They were all trapped in the cells. It is a huge tragedy so many
young and bright Acehnese leaders died trapped in prisons cells and all
Most communication lines with Banda Aceh are down but Ms McCulloch said
she was able to get information from Acehnese who made a perilous
journey of up to 12 hours to Medan.
Some news was filtering out with Acehnese taking the ferry from Medan to
Penang in Malaysia, which has a large Acehnese community.
"The conditions in Aceh are only getting worse by the day," Ms McCulloch
"People are beginning to flee to outlying areas to relatives and
friends. The stench is unbearable. The bodies are everywhere. And there are lots
rumours about more tsunami and about disease breaking out. People are
too frightened and there is no official information to allay their fears."
Ms McCulloch has been living in Penang since October to be close to the