RealNews

Indonesian forces attack rebel base

Indonesia launched a military strike against separatist rebels in the province of Aceh hours after the country’s president placed the area under martial law. Hundreds of Indonesian troops parachuted into the province following the declaration of martial law and military aircraft fired rockets at a rebel base outside the provincial capital. Indonesia declares martial law in Aceh. Despite the start of military operations, a Swiss international mediator said there’s still a chance to get the peace process back on track. “We’re leaving the window for dialogue open if both parties want to re-engage or continue to engage in dialogue despite the obvious circumstances in the field,” said David Gorman of the Henry Dunant Centre. The centre brokered the Dec. 9 peace agreement between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the government of Indonesia. Negotiations to salvage the five-month-old peace pact broke off after the two sides failed to agree on autonomy for the province. Even before President Megawati Sukarnoputri announced martial law, Indonesia had been massing troops, aircraft and warships in the area. Forces had taken up key positions within Aceh, according to media reports. Full Story

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