RealNews

25 Die As Indonesian Troops Fight Rebels

Fierce fighting between Indonesian troops and insurgents has killed at least 25 people in northwestern Aceh province, the military and a rebel spokesman said, as a major offensive aimed at destroying a separatist rebellion entered its third day Wednesday. In her first remarks about the offensive, President Megawati Sukarnoputri said she ordered the operation with a heavy heart and urged the country to back her. “I hope this action will be understood and supported by all the Indonesian people, including those groups working for democracy and human rights,” said Megawati, a nationalist leader whose father was Indonesia’s first president. On Wednesday, Aceh military commander Maj. Gen. Endang Suwarya said troops were moving into the rebels’ northern strongholds of Bireun and Pidie, and a curfew for the zones was possible. “We need to take urgent steps,” he told The Associated Press. The zones are home to several natural gas fields, though production has so far been unaffected by the fighting. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030521/ap_on_re_as/indonesia_aceh_030521042851

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