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Cablegate: Five Suspects Arrested in Aceh Ex-Gam Killings

VZCZCXYZ5210
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #0464/01 0661004
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061004Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8244
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0913
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2135
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 3371
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 2073
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000464

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
AIDAC

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MTS, DS/IP/EAP, DS/DSS, INR/EAP and INL
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS AID
USAID FOR ANE/EAA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS PREL MARR ECON ASEC SOCI ID
SUBJECT: Five Suspects Arrested in Aceh ex-GAM killings

REF: JAKARTA 446

1. (U) Summary. Five suspects were arrested on March 5 in relation
to the March 1 killings of five ex-GAM members and injury of seven
others during an attack on a KPA office in Central Aceh. TQ motive
for the attack remains unclear and the police maintain the suspects
are not ex-militia or members of any gang group. A key witness to
the attack remains under KPA protection at an undisclosed location.
Local officials have praised the swift police action while human
rights NGOs have called for de-escalation and further investigation.
The situation in central Aceh remains calm, but tense. End
Summary.

Suspects Arrested
-----------------
2. (SBU) Police arrested five suspects on the afternoon of Tuesday,
March 4 in Atu Lintang village 30km southeast of Takengon city in
Central Aceh. The suspects are all civilians named Marjono(age 29),
Ahmed Sainuddin(age 32), Giman(age 32), Musikan(age 42), and
Humardi(age 70). Consulate Medan confirmed the names and status of
the suspects with the Police Chief of Aceh Tengah Lt. Col. AB
Kawedar on March 6. These suspects are now detained under close
supervision at the Central Aceh Police Office. Tensions in the
village and at the site of the attack remain high.

3. (U) Media reports from March 6 indicate police did not initially
publicize the arrests due to the fragile situation in the district.
Aceh daily Serambi reported that police commanders stated they
received instructions from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to
conduct a clear and open investigation of the case and the police
made the arrest public on March 5. Media reports added that a
special team from Aceh Police Headquarters came to Central Aceh to
support the investigation of the incident. Lt. Col. AB Kawedar would
not speculate on motives for the crime during a conversation with
Consulate Medan staff on March 6.

Motives Unclear
---------------
4. (U) The break in the case, according to police, came when
suspect Musikan, who is also a local village chief, provided further
information to investigators that lead to the arrest and detention
of the remaining four suspects. According to local authorities all
of the suspects were born in Aceh. Police also conducted a
reconstruction of the crime with one of the injured victims from the
March 1 attack. Police claim that the initial results of the
investigation indicate all of the suspects are civilians acting of
their own volition and initiative. They have denied any links to
militias or any organization backing them in their actions. Police
publicly maintain that a motive for the attacks is still unknown.

Reaction by KPA and Others
--------------------------
5. (U) Head of the KPA in Central Aceh, Ramdana, urged in a March 6
media statement that people not to be provoked by the incident,
including a rumor subsequently disproved of the finding of 3 more
dead bodies in Bur Lintang (10km from Atu Lintang). Ramdana assured
the media on March 6 that all KPA members remain in their villages;
however they remain alert because of this incident. A key witness
who escaped the KPA office attack on March 1 is currently being
"protected" by the KPA at an undisclosed location, according to both
media reports and sources close to the KPA.

6. (SBU) Faudi Soni, head of the Aceh Post-Conflict Reintegration
Body (BRA) in the city of Bireun and a source close to the KPA, told
Consulate Medan staff on March 6 that in fact the Takengon bus
station issue had been resolved on the evening of February 29
(reftel). After the attack on the KPA station in the early morning
of March 1, however, Soni added KPA members were fearful the
killings were instigated by those seeking to destabilize the
province. Soni did not support a direct linkage between the
struggle over control of the Takengon bus terminal and the March 1
attacks.

7. (U) The Head of the Aceh Provincial Peace Coordination and
Communication Forum (FKK), Zainal Arifin, and the Provincial BRA
Head, Nur Djuli, both praised the police in the media on March 6 for
their quick action in detaining the suspects. Arifin added that he
would bring this incident up in the FKK in order to follow up on the
effect of the killings on the peace process and general stability in
Aceh. Human rights NGOs in Aceh stressed that the local government
and the authorities should take steps to ensure the de-escalation of
the situation. Mr. Aziah, representing local NGO Kontras, also
called on the Indonesian National Committee for Human Rights to
investigate the recent violence.


Hume

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