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Jakarta Gears Up for Military Action to Crush Aceh Rebels

The Indonesian government has begun preparations to launch a military operation in Aceh, ending a peace pact that has been shredded in recent days by escalating violence. But Jakarta said it would wait for the outcome of a meeting with rebel group representatives later this month before deciding on its next course of action in the separatist province. Late on Tuesday, President Megawati Sukarnoputri held a closed-door meeting with Vice-President Hamzah Haz and her top security aides, including Home Affairs Minister Hari Sabarno, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayudha and Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil. Indonesian military commander Endriartono Sutarto, navy chief Bernard Kent Sondakh, air force chief Chappy Hakim and national police chief Da’i Bachtiar were also present. While details of the meeting were not revealed to the press, there were indications that a plan to crush the separatist rebels was discussed. Full Story

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