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Five shot and wounded by police in Aceh

Student Solidarity with the People - January 17, 1999 (slightly abridged)

The security forces have yet again behaved brutally towards Acehnese people. The incident occured at around 1.30am on Sunday 17 January in front of the police station in Blang Jereun, Lhkosukon, North Aceh, when members of the police force opened fire on a group of people who were taking a casualty of a traffic accident to hospital.

Altogether 19 people were escorting the person to hospital, some of whom were in the vehicle transporting the casualty while others were riding behind on motorcycles.

The police mistook the group for a demonstration; they panicked and according to our information, opened fired without even given any warning shots. The police were about 20 meters from the crowd. One of the men who opened fire has since been identified as first sergeant Hokki

The five people wounded are: Jafar Husen (27) from Desa Blang Jereun, who is in a critical condition; Rusli (25) from Alue who was lightly wounded; Saifuddin (18)from Alue who was lightly wounded; Amri Harun (20) from Alue who as wounded in the leg and had to undergo an operation; and Hendri (26) from Alue.

We were heard this incident because several SMUR members were staying with some victims of the Operasi Wibawa '99 who are being treated in Lhokeumawe General Hospita; these people still feel very scared about what may happen to them.

At around 4.30 in the morning, the wounded people were taken to Mobiloil Polyclinic for treatment but since the treatment there was inadequate, SMUR's chairman Kautsar contacted the district chief to ask him to get in touch with Lhokseumawe Hospital so that they could be taken there. Liliwangsa military commander Col Johnny Wahab was at the hospital at the time and promised to instruct the local police to investigate the incident.

Kautsar, SMUR's chairman has strongly condemned the action of the police as yet another sign of the lack of professionaliam of the armed forces.