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Mass grave found in Aceh

Detik - June 23, 2000

D. Sangga Buana/ Swastika, Jakarta – Local police officers in Aceh believe they have discovered a mass grave site located in Simpang Kramat, Kutamakmur sub district, North Aceh. Two skeletons were unearthed in one of spots yesterday and today the police are searching for another 30 burial sites nearby.

As reported in the Serambi Indonesia daily, the police officers led by Police Subprecinct Chief Let. Col. Pol. Syafei Aksal and North Aceh Sector Chief of the Cinta Muenasah Operation Let. Col. Pol. Fajar located the mass grave after "sweeping" through the area for three-hours.

Two complete human skeletons were unearthed about one metre from the surface. The bodies were placed on top of each other and it is claimed they have been buried for at least six months. Identifying the bodies will be very difficult. A Red Cross team on the spot then took the bodies to the Lhokseumawe General Hospital.

Based on information from local people, there are at least 30 sites where bodies are buried in the Simpang Kramat area. The Police have postponed exhuming the bodies until preliminary investigations are complete.

"First we will find the sites before digging them all up," Let. Col. Pol. Syafei Aksal said. According to Syafei, all the victims were kidnapped by an armed civilian group which is still threatening the Kutamakmur people. "Amongst the victims were a worker of PT Satya Agung Plantation and a contractor who was murdered after his car was stolen," added Syafei Aksal.