Aceh rebels 'say no' to Jakarta's request for name list

Updated On: Nov 01, 2005

Jakarta - What's in a name? For members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), it could mean the difference between life and death - especially if the names are to be revealed to a party that they don't trust. As such, they are resisting the Indonesian government's demands to submit a list of names of some of their 3,000 fighters.

     The government has said that the disclosure of the names is crucial since the GAM members would receive economic assistance from the central government to help them settle back into society.
      Indonesian military chief, General Endriartono Sutarto, said: "I ask the GAM leadership to learn to trust us. We are not going to discriminate against former GAM members after being reintegrated into society. We need the list of their names to speed up the reintegration process. I promise them security protection."
      Despite the official assurance, GAM remains unconvinced.
      "GAM has made a decision not to surrender the names," said Mr M Nur Djuli, a representative of GAM with the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), on Oct 26. He did not give any reason.
      However, human rights watchdog Imparsial has said that the disclosure of GAM rebels' names could result in possible violence against them.
     It accused Indonesian security forces of continuing violence against former guerrillas and Acehnese civilians despite the signing of the peace agreement between the government and GAM on Aug 15 in Helsinki, Finland.
     Imparsial said that despite the signing of the peace agreement, there have been many cases of soldiers beating Achenese civilians. The non-governmental organisation also said there had been at least one case in which a former GAM fighter was shot dead by an unidentified person.
     The Indonesian military, which has long treated Aceh as its personal fiefdom and is reported to be less than enthusiastic about the Aug 15 peace pact, has repeatedly denied the existence of militia groups in Aceh.
      Minister of Information and Communications Sofyan Djalil  warned that GAM's failure to name its members would stall their integration arrangement into society.
      But he added: "I know there are some problems with what we call the confidence-building measures between us and GAM."

* Naming GAM rebels 'won't endanger them' (The Jakarta Post, Oct 28)

* GAM won't disclose names of former rebels: Official (The Jakarta Post, Oct 27)