Indonesia's security forces today announced the deployment of hundreds of riot police to troubled Aceh province as the government rejected the military's demands to impose martial law in response to the bloody rebellion there.
Some Indonesian generals, including the national police chief, have said that secessionist violence in the independence-minded region is spiraling out of control. They have demanded the imposition of emergency rule in some parts of the province, which sits on the northern tip of Sumatra island in far western Indonesia.
But President Abdurrahman Wahid wants to foster dialogue with separatist groups and martial law would only inflame the situation there, Attorney General Marzuki Darusman told a parliamentary panel investigating human rights abuses by troops. Wahid was in Jordan on a four-day Middle East tour.
In the past two days, six civilians have been killed in two separate incidents, said Aceh's military leader, Col. Syarifuddin Tippe.
Four men were shot Tuesday after being kidnapped by unknown assailants in Panga Pucok village in central Aceh, he said. The other two were killed today in a gunfight. Tippe said he didn't know the identity of the dead or who killed them.
National police spokesman Col. Saleh Saaf said 876 riot police had been sent to the province following increased rebel attacks.