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Former GAM combatant allegedly involved in Aceh election violence

Jakarta Globe - March 18, 2014

Farouk Arnaz, Jakarta – One of the participants in an attack on a National Democrat Party (NasDem) campaign office in Munyee Kunyet village, North Aceh in February was a former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) combatant, police said on Tuesday.

"The office was hit by two shooters," an unnamed source at the National Police headquarters said. "The first one, RSD, was an ex-combatant in GAM and the other one, Umar, was the one who fired [the shots]."

RSD allegedly drove the motorcycle the pair used in the attack. After firing at the building, the men allegedly went inside and beat up two campaign workers. No one was injured by the gunshots.

RSD was arrested in a warung in North Aceh on Sunday at around 4 p.m., and Umar was arrested in North Aceh late Monday night. Both alleged attackers rented firearms illegally from a soldier stationed locally, police said.

"The two shooters have been detained," National Police Chief Gen. Sutarman said. "According to them, the firearms used were rented from an army member. We are now working together with the army to solve the case." He declined to comment further.

Sutarman said the attackers also lowered a NasDem political party flag, sparking anger. "The motive was political," he said. "There was a flag of a certain party [that was taken down]. [The perpetrators were] were also connected to a different political party. We are studying the case."

Police on Tuesday were searching for additional suspects in the attack. "We're searching for another two perpetrators," said the police source who would not be named.

Aceh has experience a rash of violent incidents in the run up to the April elections. Earlier this month, a legislative candidate from the Aceh National Party (PNA) was shot and killed by unknown gunmen on a secluded road in South Aceh.

"The institutional transformation of the former GAM is remarkable, with the establishment of a local political party. But it did not come with a change in their political behavior. In that case, they failed," Aceh Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) director Mustiqal Syahputra told the Jakarta Globe.

Source: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/former-gam-combatant-allegedly-involved-aceh-election-violence/