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Thirty still missing after Idi Cut massacre

Waspada - February 24, 1999 (summary)

Yusuf Puteh, the chair of the East Aceh Human Rights Forum (FP-HAM Aceh Timur) said his organisation believes that dozens of bodies are still lying at the bottom of Arakundo River, victims of the killings in Idi Cut on 3 February.

He said local people were disappointed by the unsatifactory nature of the investigations by divers from the company PT Arun who were sent to find bodies in the river. "We are initiating our own investigations and have five volunteer divers who will try to find the bodies of the missing people."

At the time of the Arun investigations, they offered to dive but were not allowed to do so, which aroused suspicions among the local people. "We hope the local authorities will assist us in these investigations," said Yusuf.

The local military commander, Colonel Wahab, as well as the local chief of police both denied claims that people are still missing. "No member of the public has reported any missing people to us," they both said separately.

But Yusuf Puteh said that local people were still in a state of trauma following the massacre by the security forces. "Don't expect anyone to go and report anything to the security forces. They are still as scared as if they had seen a ghost," he said.

The only way to lay this controvery about the number of missing to rest, he said, is for further investigations to be undertaken in the river.

"The local government and the military haven't yet given any figure for the number of missing people." According to the human rights group, there have been reports of altogether thirty missing people from members of the public. Lukman Hakim, another member of the group, said the names of the missing people would soon be made available to the authorities in Banda Aceh.