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From: TAPOL [ ]
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2000 3:42 AM
To: ................
Subject: Acehnese report recent disappearances to MPR chair

Amien Rais Supports Call for Non-organic Troops to Withdraw from Aceh, 20 April 2000

A senior politician Amien Rais has told a group of Acehnese representing fifteen families who met him at his office on Thursday that he agrees with them that all non-organic troops should be withdrawn from Aceh. It was clear, he said, that these troops had done nothing to safeguard security. The fifteen families had come to complain about the disappearance of their loved ones during the period from January to March 2000.

During their meeting with Amien Rais who is chair of Indonesia's upper chamber, the MPR, the fifteen families were accompanied by Munawar, coordinator of Kontras, the Commission for Missing People and the Victims of Violence. At first, Amien Rais was under the impression that the families had come to complain about people who had fallen victim to abductions during the Suharto era but when he realised that they were talking about incidents that were still very fresh in their minds, he apologised because in his opening remarks he had spoken about the disappearances as if they had happened in during the previous era.

He said he did not have the authority to act on this matter but would take their complaints to Admiral Widodo, commander of the armed forces, who has the power to put a stop to the bloodshed and to deal with abductions.

He promised to help those families who had lost their livelihoods and recognized that it is the responsibility of the state to help them. He advised the families to press their demands hard and also encouraged Kontras to continue to work to help these people which is part of their humanitarian and religious duty.

One of the group was Zulkifli, 22, a student in Banda Aceh, who spoke on behalf of his uncle who disappeared on 27 February. He said that on Saturday night, masked soldiers dressed in camouflage uniforms and with their insignia concealed had come to the house. After searching the house and grabbing several items, they left, taking his uncle away.

Mrs Sofiana, 38, who was carrying a one-year-old infant, said that her husband had been taken away by troops dressed in camouflage. She said that her husband was kicked in the face till it bled as they dragged him off.

Husaini, 22, spoke about his father Zulkifli, the village head, who went to visit a neighboring village by motorbike on 20 February. A sweeping operation was underway at the time and was still in progress when he traveled back home. He has not been seen since. Husainiís younger brother reported the disappearance to the local police on the following day but troops dressed in camouflage visited the family home, forcing their way in and wanting to know the whereabouts of the father.

All those who attended the meeting with Amien Rais said they wanted the troops to leave Aceh.

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath,
Surrey CR7 8HW, UK
Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322
Campaigning to expose human rights violations in
Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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Last modified: May 18, 2000