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Police Bust Alleged Leaders Of Aceh Pre-Election Attacks

BY NURDIN HASAN
(THE JAKARTA GLOBE)

Banda Aceh, TAG – Police have arrested two former Free Aceh Movement members for allegedly masterminding a string of armed attacks in Aceh ahead of the province’s recently-completed elections.

A team comprising of members of the Aceh Police and the National Police Densus 88 anti-terrorism unit arrested Vikram, also known as Ayah Banta, and M. Joni in two separate locations early on Saturday.
“Ayah Banta is the mastermind of a string of shootings in Aceh that happened recently,” Aceh Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Gustav Leo said on Sunday.
Ayah Banta was arrested in Lhok Beuringen and Joni in Matang Drien, both located in Tanah Jambo Aye subdistrict of North Aceh district.
Gustav declined to reveal more information on the men but local residents said that Ayah Banta was a former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) official for North Aceh while Joni was a local member.
“Ayah Banta was hiding in his family’s home when he was nabbed, while Joni was hiding in the home of a North Aceh legislator from the Aceh Party,” said a local resident who declined to be identified.
Fachrul Razi, a spokesman for the GAM-affiliated Aceh Party, confirmed that Ayah Banta was one of the party’s cadres.
“But he’s not in the Aceh Party’s [organizational] structure,” Fachrul said. “He is, however, an official in the Aceh Transition Committee [KPA] overseeing financial matters.”
The two were arrested based on information police received from eight suspects who had been detained for their connection to a string of pre-election attacks that started in July and left 10 dead.
The violence included an attack on a car belonging to the campaign team of Governor Irwandi Yusuf, and seven other cars belonging to the campaign teams of various gubernatorial candidates in last Monday’s poll.
The string of attacks are believed to have stemmed from the killing of a former GAM member who was also KPA chairman of Bireuen district, Amiruddin Husen, also known as Saiful Cagee on July 22, 2011 in the district.
Cagee was said to be opposed to the candidacy of Zaini Abdullah and Muzakir Manaf for governor and deputy governor from the Aceh Party because he supported the then Governor Irwandi Yusuf for the second term.
Zaini is a former foreign minister of the GAM government in exile, while Muzakir is its former top military commander. KPA formed to accommodate former GAM guerillas after a peace agreement was reached with the national government in 2005.
The two suspects were taken to the Aceh Police office for questioning, but Gustav said there is a possibility that the two will be taken to National Police headquarters in Jakarta as an investigation into their roles as terrorists continues.
National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chairman Ansyaad Mbai was quoted in the media as saying Vikram was involved in the 2004 bombings of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near Jakarta, the Wisma Bhayangkari building, the parliament building and the UNDP office in Jakarta, but Gustav refused to comment on that aspect of the investigation.
Aceh has seen a string of shootings ahead of provincial elections which voters chose a governor, 13 district heads and four mayors. At least 10 people have been killed and eight others injured. All of those killed originally came from outside Aceh.
Four people were killed when armed men shot at a group of workers from Setya Agung, a rubber plantation, in North Aceh on Dec. 4.
On the eve of the new year, an armed man fired on a group of Telkomsel workers as they took a break, killing three people in Bireuen. On the same day, an unidentified man shot and killed an employee at a toy store in Ulee Kareng, Banda Aceh.
On Jan. 1, five armed men opened fire on a coffee shop in North Aceh, killing one person. Two armed men shot three construction workers in Aceh Besar on Jan. 5, killing one. []
Police Bust Alleged Leaders Of Aceh Pre-Election Attacks Police Bust Alleged Leaders Of Aceh Pre-Election Attacks Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on April 16, 2012 Rating: 5

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