Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

Chronology for Acehnese in Indonesia

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Acehnese in Indonesia, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f389a1e.html [accessed 25 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Apr 1990 Seven people on a minibus of a state plantation firm in the Indonesian northernmost province of Aceh in Western Sumatra were gunned down by unknown assailants. Sources in human rights organizations say there have been 72 casualties among the military in clashes with well-armed guerrillas and the total toll could well be in the hundreds (Reuters, 04/01/90).
Jun 1990 The regional military commander for Aceh, Maj Gen Pramono, told reporters that the violence, by a group he called the GPK -- the Security Disturbing Movement -- had reached intolerable limits (Reuters, 06/22/90). Standard ABRI (the armed forces) --issued weapons used in some attacks indicate that army deserters form part of the group.
Jul 1990 Indonesia's military chief General Sutrisno vowed to end the wave of killings in Aceh, stating they were drug-related (Reuters, 07/10/90). The military has confirmed some 20 deaths, mostly of Javanese civilians who moved to Aceh as part of a program to relieve overcrowding in Java. The National Liberation Front Aceh Sumatra (NLFAS) has claimed responsibility for the killing of soldiers in Aceh. In a letter obtained by Reuters they said: "We want to free the Islamic state of Aceh Sumatra and separate it from the toy state of Javanese Indonesia, which continually violates the rights of the Acehnese people" (Reuters, 07/22/90). President Suharto has ordered more troops to Aceh to deal with the wave of killings. Provincial Governor Ibrahim Hasan said Suharto also called for economic solutions to a problem which the President indicated was rooted in economic inequity. Hasan quoted Suharto as stating that "The violence can be overcome but the root of the problem needs to be dealt with". Suharto suggested that large state firms should finance and foster small scale industries which employ locals, as well as initiate training programs to promote modern skills. He also called on Islamic leaders in the fiercely Muslim province to work for peace (Reuters, 07/11/90). Aceh's development funding has been doubled this year, more than any other province (Financial Times, 08/02/90) and local professionals recognize this as a start to solving the problems of equity. The rebellion is reportedly gathering support from local people. "We took a survey and found eight out of 10 Acehnese support the movement, if only passively", said a civil rights worker from Aceh (Reuters, 07/24/90).
Aug 1990 Aceh Governor Hasan has asked all Acehnese to hang Indonesian flags outside buildings as a display of their loyalty. The display is supposed to last until August 10, a week before Independence Day. He informed the local media that "Those who fail to display the flags shall not be regarded as republicans" (Reuters, 08/06/90). The government has released 140 rebels. They were apparently released for good behavior during two-and-a-half months in custody (Reuters, 09/29/90).
Nov 1990 The military has denied it was responsible for a spate of murders that is littering Aceh with unidentifiable corpses. Recently villagers found an open pit with about 200 badly decomposed bodies. The military says the murders are the work of the rebels. But human rights groups say they were committed by soldiers who are trying shock therapy to quash the rebellion (Reuters, 11/08/90). "If you add up all the deaths it's over 1,000", said a senior military doctor who treats victims on both sides of the conflict (Reuters, 11/23/90).
Dec 1990 The army has abruptly called off a rare briefing on Aceh that it had scheduled for foreign defense attaches in Jakarta. The rationale was "Lack of interest" although 37 of the 45 or so attaches had signed up (The Economist, 12/15/90).
Mar 1991 Four men charged with inciting rebellion in Aceh were accused in court of planning to blow up the Arun LNG complex run by Mobil Corporation. They are charged with subversion and planning to set up an Islamic state, both of which carry a maximum penalty of death.
Apr 1991 Indonesian state prosecutors in Aceh have asked for 15 years to life imprisonment for three people on trial for subversion. Prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for Hasbi Abdullah, 44, a university professor, who is charged with trying to set up an Islamic state in Aceh. In separate courtrooms, prosecutors called for 15-year terms for two others -- one is a civil servant and the other is a state company employee. Both are accused of being active in mobilizing funds for the movement. There are currently 14 people on trial in Aceh for subversion. Another group of 28 villagers from the eastern part of Aceh have landed in Malaysia's northwestern state of Kedah and the exodus could continue, a senior official of the separatist movement based in Sweden said (Reuters, 04/08/91). The villagers are expected to appeal to the UNHCR in Malaysia for refugee status. Malaysian government sources said 119 Acehnese had arrived on their shores in recent weeks. UN refugee officials met Malaysian authorities to decide what to do with the Indonesians, but reached no decision on their fate. A policeman was injured in an explosion at the house of the chief of police in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh. A cholera epidemic sweeping Aceh has killed at least 55 people and put 6,000 in hospital, Indonesian health officials said. The epidemic began in March at the start of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, and the Acehnese were reluctant to drink between dawn and dusk even to stem dehydration, doctors said (Reuters, 04/26/91).
May 1991 Malaysian and Indonesian officials have discussed the status of the boat people, but no decision has been made. The Free Aceh Movement appealed to Malaysia to allow UNHCR access to the Acehnese boat people. Indonesian soldiers publicly executed several alleged separatist rebels in Aceh, shooting them without trial, an eyewitness said (Reuters, 05/15/91).
Jun 1991 Malaysia's Penang State Chief Minister said police seized an M-16 rifle, 51 rounds of ammunition and 19 knives from a group of 44 Indonesians, the latest to land in Malaysia from Aceh (Reuters, 06/12/91). Villagers have captured about 20 rebels they found bathing in a jungle river and handed them over to the army in Aceh, local sources said (Reuters, 06/13/91). The villagers were reportedly resentful towards the rebels whom they blame for bringing violence to their villages.
Jul 1991 Five rebels were shot dead during a military operation in Aceh. An army officer stated that "The Indonesian army has been giving routine training to an Acehnese youth organization called Ksatria Unit Penegak Pancasila (Youth Defense of State Ideology) to defend their community against rebel disturbances" (Japan Economic Newswire, 07/09/91).
Oct 1991 Malaysia should not deport the more than 200 Indonesians who have fled fighting in Aceh because they risk torture, extra-judicial execution or `disappearance', Amnesty International said. (Reuters, 10/10/91). Malaysia will not forcibly repatriate the Indonesians who fled reported fighting in Aceh, Foreign Minister A. Badawi told reporters after talks with his Indonesian counterpart (Reuters, 10/11/91).
Nov 1991 An Indonesian soldier has been jailed for giving two M-16 guns to Muslim rebels. He is the fourth member of the security forces imprisoned this month for links to the separatist movement in Aceh.
Mar 1992 An Indonesian court has sentenced a university lecturer, Tengku Armia, to 5 years in jail for joining the rebels. Armia, a graduate of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, had taken an Islamic course in Libya for several months before joining the rebel movement.
May 1992 During a visit to Banda Aceh, President Suharto met 40 Acehnese from various social groups and said the Indonesian government has not neglected the people's interests in Aceh. The President's meeting took place after he officiated at the opening ceremony for several development projects undertaken by the government at a cost of $219 million. They included a flood-control system, several bridges and electrification for 708 villages in the province.
Jun 1992 About 50 people from Aceh have camped at the UNHCR office compound in Kuala Lumpur indicating they would not leave until they were granted asylum. UN officials are holding talks with Malaysian authorities to decide the fate of the Acehnese who occupied their compound. The London-based Indonesian human rights group Tapol said in a letter to the UNHCR that the Acehnese would be in grave danger if forcibly repatriated to Indonesia (Reuters, 06/24/92).
Jul 1992 Tapol says Malaysia has refused political asylum to the Acehnese who are camping at the UNHCR compound (Reuters, 07/18/92).
Aug 1992 An asylum-seeker from Aceh said he and five others were detained and tortured by Indonesian soldiers when they voluntarily returned home several months ago from Malaysia (Reuters, 08/28/92). There was no immediate comment from Jakarta.
Sep 1992 "Malaysia is helping Indonesia eliminate the last remaining eyewitnesses of the persecution in Aceh by deporting them from Kuala Lumpur where they have sought refuge", alleged Hasan di Tiro, President of Aceh Merdeka, at the 44th session of a UN sub-commission on prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities. Hasan suggested in Geneva that the UN sub-commission should send an official to interview Acehnese currently being held in Malaysian prisons before they are sent back to Indonesia (Reuters, 09/01/92).
Jul 1993 Indonesian troops killed two rebels and injured eight others in the first such reported clash after a pause of more than a year in Aceh. Human rights groups state that while military activity has declined, they question government claims that life in Aceh has returned to normal (Reuters, 07/26/93).
Oct 1993 The group of Acehnese at the UNHCR compound in Kuala Lumpur still continue to live there. Malaysia has denied them asylum. The UN agency has given them two options: surrender to local authorities or stay on in the compound. Sources said the UN was trying to find another country to grant them political asylum (Reuters, 10/07/93).
Feb 1994 The US Department of State, Human Rights Report 1993, says that the torture of prisoners is particularly frequent in Aceh. Reliable reports suggest a majority of Acehnese still held in 1993 in connection with the Aceh Merdeka movement had undergone some form of torture during their incarceration. An Acehnese parliamentarian, Haji U.M. Ali, convicted of subversion in July 1993, claimed he was beaten during his interrogation and forced to sign statements incriminating himself.
Apr 1994 A separatist rebel was shot dead in fighting on a main road in Banda Aceh. According to the local military commander, the man identified as T. Yun had twice sent some members of Aceh Merdeka to Libya to undergo military training (Japan Economic Newswire, 04/16/94).
Jul 1994 Following months of labor unrest, the Indonesian government has raised minimum wage levels in nine provinces, including Aceh. Labor activists argued that the previous minimum wage did not allow workers to meet their basic daily needs (Reuters, 07/30/94).
Sep 1994 Three members of the Aceh Merdeka have voluntarily turned themselves into government authorities in Aceh (UPI, 09/24/94).
Sep 26, 1994 Military authorities are blaming members of the Aceh Merdeka for the killing of two villagers in Sumatra. Thirty other people reportedly escaped unharmed. Analysts indicate that support for Aceh independence has been fuelled by concerns over the unequal benefits of local development and a perceived lack of respect for local customs and religion by central government authorities (UPI, 09/26/94).
Sep 28, 1994 Amnesty International is calling on foreign governments to halt support for the Indonesian regime, arguing that Jakarta has failed to address the root causes of human rights problems. Amnesty indicated that the arbitrary use of repression occurs not only in East Timor, Aceh, and Irian Jaya but throughout the country (Agence France Presse, 09/28/94).
Dec 1994 One rebel was killed during a military encounter in Aceh between government troops and members of the Aceh Merdeka movement. Up to 400 people have died in Aceh since 1990, according to human rights sources in Jakarta (Japan Economic Newswire, 12/13/94).
Jan 1995 The leader of an Indonesian Muslim sect who is also a member of the Aceh Merdeka movement was sentenced to twenty years in jail. Tenku Banta Kiah was found guilty of plotting the secession of Aceh province (Reuters, 01/24/95).
Jan 31, 1995 Two members of the Aceh Merdeka have been sentenced to fifteen and nine years in prison on charges of plotting the secession of Aceh (Reuters, 01/31/95).
Feb 1995 Two Aceh Merdeka rebels have been given fifteen and six year jail terms on charges of planning Aceh secession (Japan Economic Newswire, 02/01/95; Reuters, 02/09/95).
Feb 16, 1995 A shootout with security forces in Aceh led to the death of one Aceh Merdeka rebel. Meanwhile, observers indicate that the rebel movement leadership has undergone a secularization in order to grapple with the practical problems of running a state (Reuters, 02/16/95).
Jun 1995 Six rebels are dead following a shootout with military forces in Geumpang, Aceh province. It was reported that the rebel's leader, Rawang Rasyid, was among those killed (Japan Economic Newswire, 06/21/95).
Nov 1995 Around 35 alleged rebels have been released in Aceh after they reportedly pledged allegiance to the central government. A military source says that 10 of the 35 Aceh Merdeka members had received military training abroad in countries such as Libya (BBC, 11/20/95).
Sep 1997 Four civil servants found lounging in a coffee shop during working hours and eight students skipping classes in Aceh had their heads shaved by the military as part of a National Discipline Movement operation. The goal was to encourage more discipline in the lives of residents. (Jakarta Post 11/23/97)
Feb 1998 Escalating food prices and shortages throughout the month brought a series of riots throughout Indonesia. The economic crisis drew international attention to Indonesia and eventually brought down the government.
Mar 11, 1998 The People's Consultative Assembly elected President Suharto to his seventh consecutive term.
Mar 27, 1998 Eight civilians and one policeman were killed during a riot in Malaysia after the Malaysian government tried to deport almost 1,500 Indonesians who were living in refugee camps in Malaysia. Those killed were Acehnese, reputed to be members of the Acehnese National Liberation Front. (Toronto Star 3/27/98 and Jakarta Post 3/28/98)
Mar 30, 1998 Twelve Acehnese drove a truck through the entry gates of the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur in an attempt to gain political asylum. There had been suspicion that if this effort were successful, thousands of other Acehnese would apply. (Straights Times 3/31/98)
May 21, 1998 After weeks of student protests and riots in Jakarta and across Indonesia which left over 2,000 dead, President Suharto was forced to leave office. He was replaced by his second-in-command, B.J. Habibie, who promised to bring democratic rule and an end to military government. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/21/98)
Jun 16, 1998 Military spokesman Brigadier General A. Wahab Mokodongan declared that the military would not be pulling out of East Timor or Aceh because they were still fighting separatist rebels.
Aug 5, 1998 Acehnese villagers led lawyers from the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation to eleven mass graves believed to hold the remains of about 500 people. (Toronto Star 8/6/98)
Aug 20, 1998 The Indonesian military withdrew from Aceh province amid a formal apology from President Habibie for the atrocities committed under the nine-year military occupation. (Jakarta Post 9/1/98)
Aug 30, 1998 Acehnese angered by years of human-rights abuses blamed on the military pelted departing soldiers with stones and set several buildings ablaze in the industrial centre of Lhokseumawe. The rioting, which began just as the last soldiers departed Aceh, continued for two days and left two dead. Over 200 buildings, including the Golkar party headquarters, were destroyed. The military returned for a week to settle the area before leaving again.(Straights Times 9/1/98 and Toronto Star 9/3/98)
Oct 23, 1998 According to the Aceh NGO's Forum, as of this date: 2,687 people were still listed as missing in the three regencies; 4,563 people had been tortured; 173 women raped during the nine-year military operation, 1,322 women were left widowed in the campaign and 3,392 children left fatherless. Other organizations had lower tallies. (Jakarta Post 11/30/98)
Dec 18, 1998 An article in Business Week magazine accused Mobil Oil Company of complicity in the human rights abuses in Aceh during the 1990's, saying they even provided earth moving equipment to the soldiers to help them dig mass graves. Mobil denied the reports, which were later investigated by various human rights organizations. (Boston Globe 12/26/98)
Dec 28, 1998 The Indonesian government unveiled proposals for increased provincial autonomy, which would address many of the goals of Aceh province. Included in the measures were plans to allow provinces to keep more of the proceeds from the sale of their natural resources, and increased power for locally elected district and city councils, free from Jakarta's control. (Straights Times 12/28/98)
Dec 29, 1998 Seven off-duty military personnel were killed in an attack by about 200 residents of Lhok Nibung village in East Aceh. The mob, armed with machetes, attacked soldiers who were on their way to the North Sumatra capital of Medan.. (Jakarta Post 12/30/98)
Jan 3, 1999 Nine civilians were killed and 23 seriously injured when security forces fired on demonstrators who set fire to a local government building in Kandang, near Lhokseumawe. Another 123 protestors were detained after a march begun to protest the arrest of a villager turned violent. (Washington Post 1/4/99)
Jan 4, 1999 Nine people died and at least 40 more were injured during military raids on alleged separatist groups in various parts of Aceh, conducted as searches for the suspects who killed seven military personnel the week before. The military also sealed the road leading to and from Lhokseumawe during the search, and detained over 300 members of the Free Aceh movement during the course of the two-day operations. (Jakarta Post 1/4/99)
Jan 10, 1999 Four people died after being beaten by security forces in Aceh following a government attempt to capture a rebel leader. The military later arrested 16 soldiers and charged them with the deaths. (Washington Post 1/11/99 and Jakarta Post 1/13/99)
Jan 18, 1999 Local villagers beat an off-duty soldier to death overnight. (Jakarta Post 1/18/99)
Feb 3, 1999 Police fired shots into an assembly in a mosque which was allegedly instigated by Free Aceh activists. According to government sources, only one person died, but the local Legal Aid office identified twelve victims, and suggested many others were missing after the incident. (Jakarta Post 2/4/99 and 2/6/99)
Feb 8, 1999 A group of 42 widows of the military occupation of Aceh met in Jakarta and demanded the right to know the whereabouts of abducted family members and the locations of their graves containing family members; the right to education for their children up to the university level; compensation for lost wages from family members who were abducted, tortured or killed; and compensation for property which was either seized or burned during the military operation. They said that if these conditions were not met, they would boycott the general elections in August and support demands for a referendum on Aceh independence. (Jakarta Post 2/9/99)
Feb 16, 1999 Indonesia's parliament endorsed the military policy of shooting rioters on sight. (Los Angeles Times 2/16/98)
Mar 22, 1999 Around 100 members of Student Solidarity for Aceh (Somaka) rallied outside the United Nations office in Jakarta demanding a referendum for the Aceh province to enable residents to determine whether they wanted independence. (Jakarta Post 3/23/99)
Mar 27, 1999 President Habibie visited Aceh, to apologize for the abuses committed during military rule of the area. He was met by protestors. Police fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse the crowd, injuring 111. (New York Times 3/27/99 and Straights Times 3/27/99)
Apr 16, 1999 Thousands of students and residents vandalized national flags in Lohksukon, North Aceh, following the removal of banners demanding a referendum on the troubled province's future. Eventually, students and soldiers reached a compromise in which the referendum banners would be allowed to hang, as long as they were not accompanied by signs saying "Free Aceh," and students stopped destroying the Indonesian flags. (Jakarta Post 4/16/99)
Apr 20 - 21, 1999 At least one student and one policeman were killed when police tried to disperse a protest at a police headquarters. The students had been protesting to gain the release of students held at the headquarters for posting pro-referendum flags the day before. (Jakarta Post 4/21/99)
May 3, 1999 Soldiers entering a village in Aceh to look for a comrade opened fire on the hostile villagers who quickly surrounded them. Reports on fatalities varied from 17 to 81. (Washington Post 5/4/99)
May 14, 1999 The Indonesian Military (TNI) sent a special team of 34 officers to appraise the security situation in Aceh. (Jakarta Post 5/14/98)
May 16, 1999 Residents of three villages began a week-long residency at a local mosque. They had fled their homes because soldiers had been interrogating them in their search for a missing soldier. (Jakarta Post 5/23/99)
May 20, 1999 A bomb was discovered in a Matangkuli administration office which had been partially doused with fuel. (Jakarta Post 5/20/99)
May 24, 1999 At least 350 relatives of victims of violence allegedly committed by the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) in their decade-long military operation in Aceh received accreditation certificates as new civil servants. The measure was part of the government's actions following the recent visit of President B.J. Habibie to the area. One of Habibie's promises was that relatives would receive promotion to the civil service. The government had allocated 2,188 posts for the families of the victims. (Jakarta Post 5/24/99). President B.J. Habibie has agreed to a plan for the establishment of an independent committee to investigate human rights violations in Aceh. The committee would be first assigned to conduct a thorough, honest, and accurate inquiry on the alleged massacre of 40 people by the military in Krueng Geukueh, 15 kilometers west of the North Aceh capital of Lhokseumawe on May 3, before probing other cases. (Jakarta Post 5/24/99)
May 26, 1999 Members of Free Aceh killed six people during an attack on a transmigration camp. (Jakarta Post 5/26/99)
May 31, 1999 Free Aceh guerrillas killed nine security personnel and injured seven others in an ambush as they were returning from deployment. (Jakarta Post 5/31/99)
Jun 2, 1999 Indonesia announced plans to send some 1,300 extra police and troops to Aceh due to concern that Indonesia's elections the following week would be seriously disrupted by violence. (London Independent 6/2/99)
Jun 7, 1999 The local election committee delayed elections in several districts on election day for security concerns after two polling places were set on fire overnight. Across Aceh, only about 20% of eligible voters showed up to vote, in part because of an election boycott. Human rights groups later claimed that police had intimidated the voters. (Jakarta Post 6/7/99 and Straights Times 6/11/99)
Jun 14, 1999 Five civilians, including two boys, were found dead after soldiers were involved in a battle with rebels in Peurelak, East Aceh. The soldiers had been part of a convoy that had been shot at, and the civilians were believed to have been hit when they shot back. Later reports indicated that the convoy may simply have had a tire blow out, which startled the soldiers. (Jakarta Post 6/14/99 and 6/17/99)
Jun 21, 1999 Troops killed three people and injured one more in a military raid on a suspected rebel base in Matang Seujuk village, some 45 kilometers east of the North Aceh capital of Lhokseumawe. A separatist rebel group leader, Teuku Hidayatullah, however, claimed that his soldiers killed 12 police officers. (Jakarta Post 6/21/99)
Jun 29, 1999 Security concerns led the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the government to cancel the elections in the Pidie and North Aceh regencies of Aceh. The two regencies had been given from June 19 to June 27 to hold elections after the June 7 polls were postponed. (Jakarta Post 6/29/99)
Jul 7, 1999 After rebels shot a member of a civilian security force, the force conducted two days of door-to-door searches for those believed to be responsible. (Jakarta Post 7/7/99)
Jul 10, 1999 At a press conference, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) announced that it had received reports that at least seven women between 16 and 30 years of age were raped in North Aceh in the last three weeks by security personnel. (Jakarta Post 7/10/99)
Jul 12, 1999 Eight people were shot in two separate clashes in North and Central Aceh. Over the last three month period, over 100 people have died in Aceh. (Jakarta Post 7/13/99)
Jul 20, 1999 Rebels ambushed an anti-riot convoy, killing five soldiers and injuring twenty others, ten seriously. (Jakarta Post 7/20/99)
Jul 23, 1999 Indonesian troops executed 41 people they claimed were separatist guerrillas after a raid on a village in Aceh province. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said those "massacred" included at least eight farmers, and a boarding school teacher released from prison in March. It took witnesses a week to report the killings because of the isolation of the village, Beutong, where the events had taken place. Another twenty bodies were found in a nearby grave a week later. (Jakarta Post 7/27/99 and 7/31/99)
Jul 27, 1999 Suspected separatist rebels shot dead a policeman and his teenage son in West Aceh in apparent retaliation for the alleged killing of up to 41 civilians by troops the week before. (Jakarta Post 7/28/99). Minister of Defense and Security Gen. Wiranto dismissed mounting calls that he pull out troops from Aceh, saying their presence was needed to crush insurgency there. He hinted it was the rebels and not his troops that should be blamed for the prolonged terror and widespread killings there. (Jakarta Post 7/28/99)
Jul 30, 1999 The assistant to the chief of Military General Affairs on Operational Affairs, Maj. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto, said one cause of the unrest in Aceh was the arrival of some 600 Acehnese trained in Libya and a number of Acehnese who were deported from Malaysia. They arrived in the province about six months ago, he said. They began to rob people after the their government unemployment compensation ended, and they acquired firearms from Thailand. (Jakarta Post 7/30/99)
Aug 4, 1999 Nine Acehnese dashed into the Dutch embassy compound to demand that the Dutch lobby the UN to restore "the sovereign status of Aceh." The group remained camped out between the inner and outer gates until Indonesian police removed them around 1 AM on the 6th. (Agence France Presse 8/5/99 & 8/6/99)
Aug 5, 1999 Human rights activists and students called for a general strike to demand an end to violence in Aceh and the withdrawal of troops from the province. The strike came as National Police chief Gen. Roesmanhadi issued a shoot-on-sight order against civilians carrying arms. Between May and August, clashes between the military and members of the Free Aceh Movement have resulted in the death of at least 211 people, including 44 security personnel. More than 150 buildings, including dozens of schools and government offices, have also been burned, according to police. (Jakarta Post 8/5/99). The head of the sub-district police was kidnapped on his way to work in Aceh by an unknown group, suspected to be Aceh Merdeka rebels. After the kidnapping, police arrested 82 refugees at Meunasah Mee and Meunasah Manyang villages and took them to an unspecified location. North Aceh police chief Lieutenant Colonel Syafei Aksan said the 82 had been brought in only for questioning and were to be released if they could prove they were not involved in the kidnapping. Police still had 25 of the 82 refugees in custody as of 8/7/99. (Agence France Presse 8/7/99)
Aug 7, 1999 A group of wood cutters was attacked by an unknown armed group of men at the Alue Dua village in Nisam sub-district in Lhokseumawe, North Aceh, Two of them died in the attack, and 14 others disappeared. Other witnesses put the fatalities at four, and added that the attackers, who were believed to be members of the Indonesian military, attacked while their victims were sleeping. (Agence France Presse 8/9/99)
Aug 13, 1999 Gunmen killed two policemen in Aceh. (Agence France Presse 8/13/99)
Aug 14 - 20, 1999 Residents in towns in Aceh observed a week-long general strike which coincided with the Indonesian National Day on August 17. Separatists also ripped down red-and-white Indonesian flags that hung outdoors. (Jakarta Post 8/18/99)
Aug 18, 1999 Gen. Wiranto announced that he would pull out the controversial riot troops, who had been blamed for much of the violence in Aceh. He also threatened to call a general state of emergency if certain conditions were not met. The conditions included an end to kidnappings, killings, the burning of public buildings, vandalism and the raising of the Free Aceh rebel flag. (Agence France Presse 8/18/99)
Aug 19, 1999 An estimated 15 men shot at policemen removing a tree on a major highway. Two sergeants were injured. The tree was one of several set up as roadblocks during the general strike. (Agence France Presse 8/19/99)
Aug 20, 1999 A bill to give the Acehnese special status was introduced in Parliament. The bill would grant the region autonomy and special consideration for the province in cultural, educational and religious terms. (Jakarta Post 8/20/99)
Aug 21, 1999 Minister of Defense and Security Gen. Wiranto offered a general amnesty to separatist rebels in Aceh in exchange for an end to their guerrilla war. The good fighters would be offered jobs with the Indonesian army, but none would be allowed to shoot, terrorize the people, damage strategic installations or fly the Free Aceh flag. During the same press conference, Wiranto also said he was establishing a military command in Aceh, but emphasized that this would not be the same as the military rule that the Acehnese experienced from 1989-98. (Jakarta Post 8/21/99). An unidentified group of men killed a police officer as he slept in his house in Dewantara district, Lhokseumawe, North Aceh. At least eleven people were killed in separate attacks in the previous week. (Jakarta Post 8/22/99 and Agence France Presse 8/21/99)
Aug 28, 1999 Leaders of Indonesia's Moslem United Development Party (PPP) arrived in Aceh. They had promised to attempt to broker peace, finance several development projects in Aceh, and provide aid for the province's growing number of refugees. Acehnese activists derided the visit because the government refused to meet with members of the GAM, or conduct transparent negotiations with international mediators present. (Agence France Presse 8/28/99 and 8/18/99)
Sep 3, 1999 Police fired warning shots to stop a convoy of 2,000 people heading for a rally at the Darussalam University in Banda Aceh to call for a self-determination referendum for Aceh. Police claimed the action was done to protect the people, who were traveling at night, which they said was dangerous. (Agence France Presse 9/3/99)
Sep 4, 1999 The head of the province's health crisis center, Ibrahim Hasyim, said at least 73 people died in refugee camps in Aceh over the past two months, while 45,000 people were still in shelters. Up to 200,000 refugees had fled their homes in June and July, but many returned after the riot troops pulled out of Aceh. (Jakarta Post 9/4/99)
Sep 9, 1999 An unidentified man shot dead an Indonesian soldier and stole his motorcycle and watch. (Agence France Presse 9/9/99)
Sep 12, 1999 Police killed one man and shot two others as they rode their motorcycle through a security checkpoint in Aceh. Three other people, including a thirteen-year-old boy were killed during a rally outside police headquarters. The police said the shots had been fired by an unknown person in the crowd. (Agence France Presse 9/15/99 and 9/14/99)
Sep 23, 1999 Some 300 students marched at the governor's office in Aceh, smashing windows and fighting with police. Students across Indonesia had protested the passage of a bill which allowed the military to suspend civil liberties in "emergency situations." (Washington Post 9/24/99)
Sep 29, 1999 At least 64 village chiefs in Aceh said they would quit as bad security was making administration impossible. The resigning chiefs, all from the district of Pidie, handed over official stamps and administration documents to the heads of their respective sub-districts on the 27th. (Agence France Presse 9/29/99)
Oct 18, 1999 Two alleged rebels were shot dead by security personnel conducting a routine operation near the northern Aceh town of Lhokseumawe. The two had been wanted for a number of armed assaults. (Jakarta Post 10/20/99)
Oct 29, 1999 Protestors began several days of demonstrations to ask newly-elected President Abdurrahman Wahid for a referendum on Aceh autonomy and to demand he keep his promise to settle the social and economic problems in the province. Two people were also found dead in the course of the three days of protests. (Jakarta Post 11/1/99)
Oct 31, 1999 The National Commission on Human Rights in Aceh said that it had found no evidence that those fired upon in Beutong in August had put up any resistance, and urged the government to pursue a human rights investigation into the case. They added that the government should not prosecute the individual soldiers, who were just following orders, but should instead investigate the roles of military commanders Lilawangsa, and Bukit Barisan, (former) TNI chief Gen. Wiranto and former president B.J. Habibie, among others. (Jakarta Post 11/1/99)
Nov 3, 1999 Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Adm. Widodo said the military would no longer resort to its repressive security approach in handling tensions in Aceh. He added that President Abdurrahman Wahid had ordered all combat troops, including those from the Army's Special Force (Kopassus) and Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad), to be withdrawn from the province, and that the government would try to pursue non-military solutions to the region's problems. (Jakarta Post 11/4/99)
Nov 4, 1999 According to the Strategist Oil Journal, Acehnese separatists had said they would launch attacks on petroleum and other facilities owned by companies deemed to be backing Jakarta's military crackdown on Acehnese civilians. (Agence France Presse 11/4/99)
Nov 5, 1999 50,000 people rallied peacefully in Sigli, a market town in Aceh province, banging drums and chanting "Referendum! Freedom! Independent state!" (St. Petersburg Times 11/5/99)
Nov 8, 1999 Up to a million people rallied in Jakarta to demand a referendum on self-determination in Aceh. While the organizers and some of the speakers emphasized that the gathering was peaceful, an activist from Pidie district, Cut Nur Asyikin, roused the crowd by asking if they were prepared "to go on Jihad if the referendum does not take place." A petition in support of a referendum for Aceh, to be sent to the leaders of the Indonesian legislature and to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, was also signed at the mosque by the leader of Aceh's parliament, Muhammad Yus, and Vice Governor Bustari Mansyur. Later reports indicated that a civilian was killed and three soldiers abducted during the demonstration. (Agence France Presse 11/8/99 and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 11/12/99)
Nov 10, 1999 A state-funded inquiry by the Independent Investigation Commission on Atrocities in Aceh determined that top active and retired Army generals gave the orders for many of the atrocities committed by the military in Aceh in the 1990's. After presenting their results to the president, the group conducting the inquiry planned to call for tribunals to charge the generals responsible. (Jakarta Post 11/10/99)
Nov 12, 1999 The House of Representatives announced it was seeking amnesty for all political prisoners in Indonesia. The list of potential recipients included 15 people involved in various subversion cases in Aceh and Lampung (Jakarta Post 11/12/99)
Nov 16, 1999 President Wahid announced that he would hold a referendum on the issue of Aceh in seven months. He offered no details about what options would be included in the referendum, but added that the choice would require final approval by parliament. In an interview, Abu Hadi, a spokesman for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), said that the group wanted independence from Indonesia, and would not settle for the July referendum proposed by President Wahid. Parliament later rejected the plan. (Jakarta Post 11/17/99 and Agence France Presse 11/16/99 and 11/18/99)
Nov 18, 1999 Army Chief of Staff General Subagyo Hadisiswoyo told reporters that the situation in Aceh "was conducive to the implementation of martial law." He noted that separatists were intimidating people and destroying property. (Straights Times 11/19/99). Six students were abducted by Indonesian soldiers while setting up an aid post for refugees. A local religious leader also disappeared. The military denied involvement, noting that military fatigues were widely available. (Agence France Presse 11/19/99)
Nov 20, 1999 In an interview, the military commander of the separatist Free Aceh Movement, Tengku Abdullah Syafiie, said he would not negotiate with Jakarta on the issue of a referendum because it would not guarantee independence. He said the group would only negotiate with the Dutch, the original colonizers of Aceh. However, the secretary-general of the movement, in exile in Kuala Lumpur, said the group would be willing to negotiate with the government as long as negotiations were held oversees in the presence of a neutral third party. (Straights Times 11/20/99 and Agence France Presse 11/20/99)
Nov 23, 1999 Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has secured a pledge from separatist fighters in Aceh for a 100-day moratorium on violence. Another spokesman for the GAM later said that it had made no such agreement, revealing a split between the GAM faction led by Hasan Tiro (in exile in Sweden) and the rebel faction led by shadow interior minister Husaini, who was in exile in Malaysia. (Straights Times 11/23/99 and Agence France Presse 11/23/99). Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono explained that Indonesia agreed to hold a referendum in Aceh, but limited to a vote on whether to adopt Islamic Law in the province, not on independence. (Jakarta Post 11/23/99)
Nov 24, 1999 Indonesia's security forces announced the deployment of 876 riot police to Aceh province as the government rejected the military's demands to impose martial law there. In the past two days, six civilians have been killed in two separate incidents, said Aceh's military leader, Col. Syarifuddin Tippe. (Washington Post 11/25/99). One hundred and fifty students from the University of Indonesia rallied at the House of Representatives to demand that President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri resign if they failed to resolve the dispute in Aceh within three months. (Jakarta Post 11/25/99)
Nov 25, 1999 About 2,500 Acehnese pushed their way into the parliament complex in Jakarta, demanding a referendum on self-determination and running up a flag on the main flagpole. The protesters, wearing white headbands with the word "Referendum" in blue letters, made their way into the lobby of one of the main buildings, brushing aside attempts by the few security guards to keep them outside. The protesters, from the Acehnese Community of Java in Support of a General Assembly of the Fighting People for an Aceh Referendum, waited in the lobby to meet with parliamentary leaders. (Agence France Presse 11/25/99)
Dec 2, 1999 Teuku Abdullah Syafei, a commander of the Free Aceh Movement (Malaysian branch) (GAM), in an apparent attempt to placate fears of unrest on the anniversary of the GAM movement, forbade the hoisting of the separatist flag except for at regional GAM headquarters. Accompanied by 10 armed GAM soldiers, Abdullah however maintained that a public commemoration would still take place. (Jakarta Post 12/2/99)
Dec 4, 1999 Separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh held solemn ceremonies to mark their 23rd anniversary. Shots were fired as soldiers tried to disband a convoy of trucks and motorcycles celebrating the rebel anniversary in Sigli, the main town in the district of Pidie, leaving five injured. But elsewhere across Aceh, the anniversary was mostly marked by prayers in mosques, while flag-raising ceremonies were held at various jungle rebel bases. (Agence France Presse 12/4/99)
Dec 6, 1999 A lone gunman shot a soldier in Pante Pisang village in North Aceh, sparking more threats by the military and an intensive security sweep in the district, with troops and police searching for the attacker and two soldiers who had been kidnapped. (Agence France Presse 12/10/99)
Dec 12, 1999 The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), which had gained the majority of votes in the most recent election, wrapped up its national meeting with a statement rejecting adoption of a federal system for the country. (Jakarta Post 12/13/99)
Dec 13, 1999 Four members of the Police Mobile Brigade were shot during an ambush by an unidentified group. Witnesses said that a group of police later combed the village for the assailants, burning at least 12 houses and arresting dozens of people. The violence followed the shooting of three students for failing to stop at a roadblock in front of the Peulsangan Police station in North Aceh the night before. Police information revealed that at least three police personnel were killed, two severely injured and two others abducted during the last 10 days. (Jakarta Post 12/13/99). An unidentified man fatally stabbed one soldier and injured another, prompting soldiers to conduct sweeping operations to find two members of the Batee subdistrict military post who were separately abducted by unknown groups on December 8 and 13th. (Agence France Presse 12/14/99)
Dec 17, 1999 A police sergeant and a civilian were ambushed by a group of men and shot dead. A Mobil Oil employee who had been kidnapped the day before was also found dead in a separate incident. (Jakarta Post 12/18/99)
Dec 18, 1999 A fuel bomb was thrown at an army barrack in Hagu Selatan village, North Aceh, causing minor damage but no casualties. Meanwhile, a police patrol was shot at for about 15 minutes at a road intersection in Buket Rata close to dusk. (Agence France Presse 12/19/99)
Dec 19, 1999 Malaysia's foreign minister announced that it was willing to mediate the Aceh dispute if asked. While suggestions about peace negotiations had been made for several months, neither side ever visited the bargaining table. (Agence France Presse 12/19/99). Rebels from the GAM ambushed a convoy of trucks carrying members of the National Police's Mobile Brigade. Three police officers were killed in the clash. (Jakarta Post 12/22/99)
Dec 20, 1999 Two armed men were killed and two policemen wounded in an exchange of gunfire in the mountainous Geureutee area of West Aceh. Armed people in two Kijang vans intercepted a Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) car which was being escorted by several officers from the Mobile Brigade. Other witnesses said four Acehnese had been killed. (Jakarta Post 12/22/99)
Dec 22, 1999 Rebels threw two home-made bombs at a post belonging to the police mobile brigade unit (Brimob) in the Krueng Geukeuh industrial area of North Aceh district, wounding one policeman. The Media Indonesia daily reported that police opened fire randomly following the attack but failed to catch the assailants. (Agence France Presse 12/23/99)
Dec 28, 1999 At least three alleged members of the GAM were shot dead while attempting to ambush an Indonesian Military (TNI) convoy in the remote village of Uleerubek in North Aceh. The GAM said that the four targets, who had been on their way to visit their parents when the TNI attacked, escaped unscathed. (Jakarta Post 12/28/99)
Jan 2, 2000 According to Aceh Police Chief Brigadier General Bachrumsyah, at least 206 civilians, 51 policemen and 43 soldiers had been killed since May in Aceh. Bachrumsyah said the violence had also left 178 people severely injured and there had been 181 cases of arson on government and public buildings. (Agence France Presse 2/1/00)
Jan 3, 2000 One elite Brimob force policeman and two suspected members of the GAM died in an exchange of gunfire in Sungai Mas, West Aceh (Agence France Presse 1/4/00)
Jan 5, 2000 An Indonesian military policeman arrested for selling arms to separatist rebels in Aceh died from injuries inflicted in an apparent beating while in detention. In a separate incident, a man was shot and killed by troops trying to disperse a crowd that was blocking a military convoy. (Agence France Presse 1/5/2000)
Jan 9, 2000 Six Indonesian policemen were seriously injured in a grenade attack on a police post in Lhoksukon North Aceh, believed to have been the work of Aceh rebels. (Agence France Presse 1/10/00)
Jan 10, 2000 Law and Legislation Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra hinted that President Wahid would be willing to grant exiled Aceh Merdeka leader Hasan Tiro a pardon if he returned to Indonesia and helped work for peace in Aceh. The same would apply to any other GAM commanders who attended a gathering on Jan. 25. Tiro later rejected the offer, as did representatives of his faction in Indonesia. (Agence France Presse 1/10/00 and 1/12/00 and Jakarta Post 1/13/00)
Jan 11, 2000 A group of 23 Indonesian student organizations in Jakarta demanded the government pull the military out of Aceh, threatening a mass disobedience campaign. (Agence France Presse 1/11/00)
Jan 14, 2000 Fifty human rights workers in Aceh began a hunger strike to pressure Indonesian forces to guarantee their safety in the face of threats from security forces and police. (Agence France Presse 1/18/00)
Jan 17, 2000 Indonesian police said security forces killed five separatist rebels in a raid on their hideout in the Amplah village of North Aceh. (Agence France Presse 1/18/00)
Jan 18, 2000 Hundreds of villagers in the Jiemjiem area in Pidie district fled into the jungle after some 200 security personnel launched a raid on a nearby rebel camp. The Indonesian troops torched 10 houses in the area after the raid, prompting the villagers to flee. The commander of the GAM, Tengku Abdullah Syafei, said his men killed 20 members of security forces in the attack, a claim denied by the military. In a separate incident, security forces killed five separatist rebels in a raid in the Amplah village of North Aceh. (Agence France Presse 1/18/00)
Jan 19, 2000 In Meureudu sub-district, Pidie district, five soldiers were injured after a grenade was thrown into their truck, while two of the attackers, believed to be separatist rebels, were shot dead. In a separate incident, three other suspected members of the GAM were also shot dead when their jeep suddenly came out of the brush near an Indonesian patrol in Bireun sub-district, North Aceh. A GAM spokesperson in the region denied that GAM members had been killed, but said that seventeen soldiers had died. (Agence France Presse 1/19/00)
Jan 22, 2000 A policeman and three suspected separatists were killed in two separate armed skirmishes. (Agence France Presse 1/23/00)
Jan 24, 2000 Armed men shot dead four marines and wounded six outside a mosque in Bireun sub-district, North Aceh. In another incident, three separatist rebels were shot dead during an exchange of fire with troops in Blang Mon Lhong, West Aceh, around dawn. Two other suspected rebels managed to flee the scene. The five people were ambushed by the military as they were coming down to the village from their hiding place in a jungle-covered hill. (Agence France Presse 1/25/00)
Jan 25, 2000 President Wahid made his first visit to Aceh, inaugurating a free port and attending a traditional peace ceremony between police and Muslim scholars in Aceh. He admitted that human rights violations committed by security forces in the province were at the root of ongoing violence, but had no plans for talks with local leaders seeking a referendum on self-determination. (Agence France Presse 1/25/00)
Jan 29, 2000 The Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI), the highest Islamic authority in Aceh, called on the military and the rebels to immediately bring a halt to the violence in Aceh, following a similar call issued jointly by students, traditional Muslim scholars and non-governmental organizations. (Agence France Presse 1/30/00)
Jan 30, 2000 GAM Commander Tengku Abdullah Syafi'ie said the organization would hold a cease-fire if the Indonesian Military (TNI) would publicly announce its willingness to suspend further operations. He said future negotiations for a peaceful end to the 25-year-long conflict in Aceh should be carried out under sanctions of an international organization, such as the United Nations. The military said that they were willing to hold a dialogue, but would not accept a cease-fire until the GAM put down their weapons. (Jakarta Post 2/1/00)
Feb 1, 2000 A House of Representatives legislator representing Aceh, Tengku Nashiruddin Daud, was killed. House Speaker Akbar Tandjung said the killing was likely linked to the United Development Party (PPP) representative's presence in the House special commission that is investigating past atrocities in Aceh. Nashiruddin was the commission's deputy chairman. (Jakarta Post 2/1/00) At least five people were killed in separate clashes. (Agence France Presse 2/2/00)
Feb 2, 2000 Security forces opened fire on rebels, killing a GAM leader identified as Mukhtar alias Tar Molen, and injuring three police personnel in Uteuen Bunta village, Bireun regency. About 60 houses were burned in the clash, which flared up when 11 rebels intercepted security personnel who were about to raid an adjacent GAM base. On the same day, security personnel also raided a GAM base in Ulee Bukitvillage, North Aceh. President Wahid announced that Hasan Tiro had agreed to a cease-fire and negotiations during a dialogue with the Indonesian ambassador in Geneva. (Jakarta Post 2/4/00)
Feb 5, 2000 An unidentified group of armed men set fire to the main terminal of North Aceh's Malikussaleh special airport, run by Mobil Oil Indonesia. There were no reports of casualties in the attack, which the military blamed on the GAM. (Agence France Presse 2/7/00)
Feb 6, 2000 Indonesian security forces killed three suspected separatist guerillas in Aceh in a raid on their hideouts. (Agence France Presse 2/7/00)
Feb 8, 2000 A bomb aimed at a military post injured two ten-year-old girls walking to school. (Jakarta Post 2/9/00). Four suspected separatist rebels were killed in Aceh in raids on guerilla headquarters in subdistricts of Syamtalira Bayu and Jeumpa in North Aceh (Agence France Presse 2/9/00)
Feb 13, 2000 Second Lieutenant Djamil Yahya, the head of Mutiara police subdistrict, was shot while riding a motorcycle near a market in Pidie district (Agence France Presse 2/13/00)
Feb 14, 2000 Second Lieutenant Cut Ajad, the police chief of the Kluet Selatan sub-precinct, was killed in an ambush by suspected rebels in the village of Pulo Ie while patrolling in a car. Two other police were injured when police and the attackers exchanged fire. (Agence France Presse 2/14/00)
Feb 15, 2000 Jafaruddin, 33, and his wife, two farmers, were gunned down in a pre-dawn attack on their house in the Gajah Aye village of Pidie district when an estimated six people knocked at the victims' door and sprayed the couple with bullets when they opened it. In another development, police in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh rounded up four suspected separatist rebels in a raid on their camp. (Agence France Presse 2/15/00)
Feb 17, 2000 Police said they killed six suspected rebels of the GAM movement during a raid on a hideout in Panggung village in West Aceh. The latest violence brought the death toll in Aceh since the start of the year to more than 150 people, most of them civilians. (Agence France Presse 2/17/00)
Feb 19, 2000 At least three suspected separatist rebels were killed in an armed encounter with security forces in the Ulee Nyeueu village of North Aceh. But a spokesman for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), Ismail Syahputra, claimed four people were killed in the fighting and they were all "ordinary civilians." (Agence France Presse 2/19/00)
Feb 23, 2000 Zulfan Hasan, a male nurse, was found dead with torture marks on his body outside his house in Teupin Raya village in Pidie district. One of the victim's relatives said Hasan was forcibly picked up by four men dressed in uniforms of the police bomb-defusing squad the night before he was found dead. Meanwhile, an elementary school janitor was shot dead by two unidentified men while he was sweeping a school yard Tuesday in the Peusangan area of North Aceh. (Agence France Presse 2/23/00)
Feb 24, 2000 A soldier and his partner had been in a motorcycle convoy with four other men passing through the Simpang Kramat area when they came under fire from both sides of the road. Police and military troops had swept the area immediately after the attack. GAM's spokesman in North Aceh, Ismail Syahputra, said that the rebels had been defending themselves because the soldiers had opened fire. "We believed that at least 14 soldiers were killed during the skirmish and none of us was killed or wounded," he said. (Agence France Presse 2/24/00). Keuchik Ali, the head of the Alue Bugeng village, was killed during a siege of a house suspected of sheltering separatist rebels. (Agence France Presse 2/26/00)

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