Friday, December 05, 2003
JAKARTA (AP)--Achenese rebels celebrated the 27th anniversary of their
independence struggle Thursday with the sporadic raising of flags and a rare
battlefield success, killing four soldiers and injuring two in clashes
The Indonesian military, which launched a fresh offensive against the Free
Aceh Movement in May, had warned that anyone celebrating the anniversary
be punished severely. They threatened to shoot anyone caught raising a rebel
flag and said offenders would be charged with treason.
The threats and increased military patrols in the oil- and gas-rich province
appeared to work, with witnesses seeing only a smattering of rebel flags -
black and red with a star - flying across the province on the northern tip of
Thursday's killings marked one of the few days that the Indonesian army lost
more men than rebels and comes after months of military dominance on the
battlefield. Since the May offensive began, the military claims it has
than 1,000 rebels but lost only 47 soldiers and 16 police officers.
A rebel spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.