The Indonesian military in Aceh is pursuing a campaign of killings, “disappearances” and beatings of civilians, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Acehnese refugees interviewed in Malaysia revealed widespread abuses in the Indonesian province, which has been effectively closed to observers since martial law was imposed in May.
…. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch about village sweeps in which civilians were killed, some while being questioned or detained, others while fleeing in fear of mistreatment. Victims and witnesses recounted in shocking detail how Indonesian forces appear to be targeting young men in Aceh. <br /> <br /> “I saw one of the soldiers handcuff the ankles of this man, and then another soldier held him by his feet and swung him against a tree,” one young Acehnese man recounted. “The soldier did this many times so that the man’s head was hitting the tree. His brains were coming out of his head, until he was dead.” Human Rights Watch is concerned that many Indonesian military personnel seem to presume that all young men in Aceh are GAM fighters, and are targeting civilians indiscriminately. “In case after case, soldiers have gone into Acehnese villages and publicly executed or beat people seemingly at random,” said Adams. “If the aim is to instill fear in the populace, sadly it’s working.”
Indonesia’s ambassador admits that they are unable to control their soldiers:
Indonesia’s ambassador to London, Juwono Sudarsono, said that atrocities were also carried out by Gam, and that the actions of the Indonesian military had to be seen in the context of a “war situation”.
“Once you have soldiers on the ground who are facing terrorist organisations like Gam, there is no way that any commander can have immediate operational control over the troops,” he told the BBC’s East Asia Today programme.