130 Former GAM Fighters Support Irwandi

Irwandi Yusuf (R) briefing former GAM fighters during a meeting - SUPARTA PHOTO
BANDA ACEH,  (TAG) – At least 130 former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) fighters from Aceh Besar district held a closed door meeting in Hajj dormitory of provincial capital Banda Aceh Monday to support gubernatorial candidate Irwandi Yusuf winning as the head of Aceh administration for the second term.

The consolidation meeting held a day after Aceh Party declared its candidates running on a long-awaited local elections to choose governor, four mayors and 13 districts’ chief in the northern tip Sumatra island’s province. Aceh Party proposed Zaini Abdullah as gubernatorial candidate.
A long day meeting led by Muharram, former Aceh Transitional Committee (KPA) of Aceh Besar region who once former the district’s GAM commander. Some former GAM figures in the area such as former local GAM police chief Abu Badawi, a provincial legislator from Aceh Party Darmuda, and Irwandi himself.
Irwandi was a former Aceh governor who ended his first term mandate on February 8. He elected along with his running mate Muhammad Nazar, the vice governor, in Aceh’s first directly local election in 2006 after GAM signed a historic peace truce with Indonesian government in Helsinki in 2005, to end a 29-year guerrilla war in the province.
According to Thamren Ananda, a spokesman of Irwandi’s candidate campaign team, the meeting aimed to consolidate the former GAM fighters in each sub-district and villages in Aceh Besar district. “They’ll try to keep the upcoming poll can be held in peace and free from intimidation,” he said, adding that the district’s former rebels to become “special teams” to shew Irwandi as the next Aceh governor.
“If there’s any single intimidation in the district’s villages, the ex-GAM rebels will work closely with the police to stop the intimidation and providing security for people to express their aspirations” in the election, Thamrin added.
According to anonymous sources, the same consolidation meeting of former GAM guerillas will also be held in some other districts in the coming days. “So far there are 14 districts level former GAM commanders supporting Irwandi to become Aceh governor for the second term,” the sources said.
A head of Aceh elections scheduled April 9, former GAM fighters believed spilt in supporting the gubernatorial candidates between Irwandi and Aceh Party’s Zaini Abdullah, a former foreign minister of GAM government in exile, who running with Muzakir Manaf as vice governor.
The top leader of KPA Muzakir Manaf who also the Aceh Party’s chairman had fired former GAM commanders and figures that believed supporting Irwandi such as Muharram, Abu Sanusi, Irwansyah a.k.a Mukhsalmina and some others.
Irwansyah was a former GAM spokesman’s in Aceh Besar district before peace agreement signed, then he appointed as the spokesman of KPA. Meanwhile, Abu Sanusi was former GAM commander for east Aceh’s Peureulak region and the local leader of KPA.
Analysts believe the upcoming polls have revived old rivalries within former rebel. On one side, Irwandi, a former GAM propagandist who split from its leadership. On the other side is former GAM elite who run the Aceh Party and support Malik Mahmud, who once helped run the movement as a prime minister from exile in Sweden, they said.[]
130 Former GAM Fighters Support Irwandi 130 Former GAM Fighters Support Irwandi Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 13, 2012 Rating: 5


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