RealNews

Only 35 Percent of GAM Forces Destroyed So Far

With more than 35,000 troops on the ground, Jakarta has only managed to incapacitate 35 percent of Aceh’s 5,000-strong rebel force so far, more than three months after the joint operation was launched on May 19. Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday that government troops had also only seized about 15 percent of the weapons possessed by the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Initial military estimates put the number of weapons owned by GAM at slightly over 2,000. Military leaders claimed earlier that government troops had taken full control of the country’s westernmost province, where GAM rebels have been fighting for independence for the resource-rich province since 1976. More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since then. Susilo, a retired four-star Army general, said Wednesday that at least 761 rebels had been killed and 546 others injured in armed clashes with government troops since May 19, when the government launched the “joint operation”, which was supposed to have included a humanitarian operation, security operation, and law enforcement drive. Full Story

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