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Questions Greatly Outnumber Answers After Latest Shootings

BY NURDIN HASAN


Banda Aceh, TAG – One person was killed and two others injured in the latest act in a spate of violence in Aceh, while dozens of workers in the area have been sent back to their hometowns in East Java.
An unidentified armed man opened fire on construction workers who were taking a break close to their work site in Suka Makmur in Aceh Besar district on Thursday night, Aceh Police spokesman Gustav Leo said. 
The shots hit three workers: Gunoko, in the head, and Agus Swetnyo and Sotiku Anas, in the torso. Gunoko died of his injuries on Friday afternoon, but doctors at Zainoel Abidin General Hospital in Banda Aceh said Agus and Sotiku were recovering. 
Imam Taufik, a construction worker at the site of the shooting, said he heard five shots fired. 
“After that I saw one of my coworkers lying on the floor in a pool of blood,” he said, adding that he did not see the shooter. 
Imam said he and other coworkers carried the wounded men to a nearby clinic. The men were then taken to the hospital, 12 kilometers away. 
Imam said he and the other workers fear the possibility of another attack. 
Gustav said police were still investigating this incident and other shootings that have plagued the province in the past week. 
He said the shooter rode a motorcycle to the site, wearing a full-face helmet and a black jacket. 
He added the shooter fled immediately after firing the shots. 
“The bullets taken from the victims show that the shooter used a rifle,” he said, adding that the weapon may have been an AK-47 automatic. 
This incident is the fourth shooting within a week in Aceh. 
On New Year’s Eve, a man in Banda Aceh was killed by gunfire, while three workers laying cables for cellular operator Telkomsel were killed and seven others were injured by a gunman who fired on them at their boarding house in Bireuen district. 
On Sunday night, several armed men fired on people at a street-side food stall in Langkahan subdistrict in North Aceh, killing one person and severely injuring another. 
Gustav said the attacks on both the residents and workers were similar, as the gunmen targeted workers who were from outside Aceh. 
“We are investigating the possibility that the attacks are linked,” he said, adding that the police had not yet established a motive for the shootings. 
On Thursday, Telkomsel sent home 57 of its workers. They were being housed at Bireuen Police headquarters as a safety precaution. Supriadi, one of the returning workers, said he was too scared to remain in Aceh. 
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has weighed in on the recent spate of violence, but he dismissed speculation that the shooters were linked to separatist groups. 
“This is strictly a criminal case,” Purnomo said on Friday at the Presidential Palace. “We’ll let the police handle the case.” 
Before a peace agreement with the government in 2005, the armed separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) used AK-47 rifles in their struggle. 
Purnomo, however, said any connection was tenuous. “Anyone could have fired that weapon,” he said. 
Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was monitoring the situation in Aceh and receiving updates on new developments. 
Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum said the peace deal in Aceh was not an easy achievement and warned that security officials needed to do more to ensure that peace could be maintained within the province. He added that Aceh would hold gubernatorial elections this year and that its success would depend on peace and stability.[]
Questions Greatly Outnumber Answers After Latest Shootings Questions Greatly Outnumber Answers After Latest Shootings Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on January 07, 2012 Rating: 5

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