Indonesia: December 20, 2003


 Violence continues in Aceh, with 2-3 deaths a day, and many more injured and arrested. The rebels have the advantage, because the idea of independence, and not having to share oil and natural gas wealth with the rest of Indonesia, is quite popular. Aceh is one of dozens of provinces in Indonesia that has a distinct culture and was independent in the distant past. But the government does have the support of 10-20 percent of the population who are Indonesian nationalists. The rebels terrorize this group, and government police and troops try to identify and terrorize the most active rebel supporters. Naturally, this group tries to hide their activities, so when the police or army are ambushed or attack, they go after local civilians based on flimsy evidence. 


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