‘Malaysia used as base for riots’

THE recent riots in the country’s western-most province of Aceh were orchestrated by Acehnese separatists living in Malaysia, according to military sources.

A senior Indonesian Armed Forces (Abri) officer told The Straits Times that the military had received “indisputable evidence” from Malaysian intelligence which suggested that several Acehnese separatists living in Malaysia were responsible for the August riots, which occurred during a troop withdrawal from the areas occupied by military forces in the last decade.

“It is correct to say that the riots were somewhat planned,” said the senior Abri officer of the disturbances, which stretched over two days and destroyed over 100 buildings.

An Indonesian intelligence source noted that there were “pressure points” for the separatists to push, particularly the economic crisis and rising unemployment in the province.

Human-rights activists and several non-governmental organisations have been accusing Abri of engineering the riots in an attempt to cancel the troop withdrawal.

They claimed that the unrest had all the hallmarks of military involvement, pointing to the use of trucks to ferry looters and rioters to the affected areas.

The military has dismissed such allegations and despatched a fact-finding team to the province last month to investigate the charges.

Posted in Indonesia