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‘My Brother Was Not a Terrorist,’ Cries Family of Slain Suspect


Lembah Seulawah, TAG. Being poor only makes life difficult, but the loss of a brother, according to Anisah from the Seulawah Valley in Aceh Besar, can shatter a family.

Her brother, Abdullah Ismail, 30, an illegal logger, asked for Anisah’s permission last week to go to the woods because there had been a new order for logs. She thought he would be gone for a few days, but she never imagined that the next time she would see him it would be to view his dead body at a morgue in Pidie.
Police have claimed that they were forced to gun down Abdullah, a suspected militant, after he allegedly pulled a gun in an attempt to flee a security checkpoint in the Padang Tiji region of Pidie during the early hours of March 3.
“My brother Abdullah was not a terrorist!” Anisah, 35, told journalists at her shanty home on Monday, the walls of which were crumbling from age. 


Abdullah had been a victim of the 2004 Aceh Tsunami. Having lost everything, including his mother, he believed he could not survive without family around him so he chose to move in with his sister in Lamtamot village. 


“I am so certain that my brother was not a terrorist. Even when GAM was around, he was not interested; he was not a member,” Anisah said, referring to the now-disbanded separatist Free Aceh Movement. 


“We are poor but so what … we were happy. Abdullah would do all kinds of jobs, he would never say no. 


“When it was time for harvest in the fields, he would help villagers for extra money. He would climb the mountain to cut down wood. 


“He kept good relations with everybody. He was never a bother to us — he used to sleep at the village mosque because our house was so small.” 


Police say they seized an automatic rifle and six magazines of ammunition from Abdullah’s bag following last week’s shooting and that he had been traveling with two other men on a bus from Seulawah. The other men escaped arrest but one was later caught in Tamiang district near the border with North Sumatra on Friday. 


“Initially he was living with our mother in Meulaboh [West Aceh]. But then mother went missing in the tsunami disaster,” Anisah said, weeping. 


“He chose to stay with me. He was a very hard worker. He knew how to hold his own in the village.” 


Police have accused Abdullah of being a member of a suspected group of armed militants engaging in paramilitary training in the mountainous Jalin Jantho region of Aceh Besar. 


A day after the shooting, Anisah said that neighbors had told her a photo of a corpse they had seen in a regional newspaper looked like her brother. 


Anisah said she then borrowed some money to buy gas to get her and her husband, Burhan, 44, to Sigli General Hospital in Pidie, located some 50 kilometers away. 


As soon as she viewed the body, she knew it was Abdullah. After securing approval from the local police on Friday, she took the body and buried it at her village. 


“I know that illegally cutting down trees is forbidden, but many villagers here do that job,” Anisah said. 


“I have a feeling that my brother became scared when he saw the police because he’s an [illegal] logger. He was scared when he saw the raid.” 


Anisah said she had to borrow some more money to cover the costs of the burial but did not want to continue being a burden. 


“We will not make any demands of anybody. If the police want to help us with anything, that’s up to them,” she said.[]
‘My Brother Was Not a Terrorist,’ Cries Family of Slain Suspect ‘My Brother Was Not a Terrorist,’ Cries Family of Slain Suspect Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on March 10, 2010 Rating: 5

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