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Hundreds of Illegal Firearms Destroyed in Aceh

BY NURDIN HASAN (THE JAKARTA GLOBE)

Banda Aceh, TAG – Security officials on Wednesday destroyed 973 illegal firearms that had been collected over the past seven years from former pro-independence guerillas in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

Maj. Gen. Zahari Siregar, commander of the Iskandar Muda military command, which oversees operations in Aceh, said that the weapons were remnants of the bloody civil war between the now disbanded Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian military, which lasted for nearly 30 years, killing over 25,000 people.
The war ended in 2005 after a treaty was signed by both parties in Helsinki, Finland, but weapons continued to circulate with former combatants refusing to give up their firearms.
“Today we destroy some 973 illegal firearms which have been confiscated or handed in voluntarily by people gradually for the last seven years since the Helsinki treaty,” Zahari said.
The weapons were cut to pieces and had their barrels drilled. Barrels are sought after by illegal gunsmiths in Indonesia as they are the hardest part of a weapon to produce. They are then modified to create handmade firearms.
The military chief said security officials must continue to search for and confiscate arms to prevent them falling into the hands of criminals and terrorists.
Zahari said peace and stability is needed to create circumstances conducive to investment and economic development.
Aceh Police chief Insp. Gen. Iskandar Hasan called for all former GAM combatants and the people of Aceh to surrender their firearms.
“Keeping a single bullet can be prosecuted under the Emergency Law,” he said.
Iskandar also said that five of the confiscated firearms were issued by the military.
“These weapons might have been seized during the conflict period or lost during the tsunami,” he said.
The five military weapons were returned to the Iskandar Muda command.[]
Hundreds of Illegal Firearms Destroyed in Aceh Hundreds of Illegal Firearms Destroyed in Aceh Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on October 18, 2012 Rating: 5

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