Top rebel said to defect as government prepares military option in Aceh

The Indonesian government said it will soon issue a decree authorising a military operation against separatist insurgents in Aceh province, where the military reported that a senior rebel has defected.

“The president will soon issue a decree for the integrated operation,” Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil told reporters before a cabinet meeting. He said President Megawati Sukarnoputri has already asked for a consultative meeting with parliament on Wednesday or Thursday. Indonesia’s military commander said a top rebel had defected. “We thank God that Amri Abdul Wahab has made a statement to return to the motherland,” General Endriartono Sutarto told reporters. Wahab was military operations commander for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels before his appointment in December to the Joint Security Committee (JSC), which was monitoring a ceasefire in the province. Full Story

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