INDEPENDENT NEWS

Indonesian Military Frees Red Cross GAM Hostages

Published: Fri 13 Feb 2004 09:21 AM
Indonesian Military Frees Red Cross Volunteers Held Hostage by GAM Rebels
Nine out of a total of ten volunteers of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) who had been taken hostage by Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels have been freed by the Indonesian Military (TNI) in Nurusalam District, East Aceh Regency on Monday, 9 February.
The rescue took place after GAM rebels were forced to flee during a gunfight with the Indonesian Military.
None of the volunteers were hurt but one of them, Ramli Budiman, is still being held hostage by the rebels. The Indonesian Military is currently pursuing the rebel group to rescue him.
The Indonesian Red Cross volunteers had entered the area at the request of GAM to bring medicines as well as to provide medical treatment for civilians. When they arrived at the area, they found that there was no one who required medical care and ended up being held hostage by GAM rebels.
Just as they have been doing to journalists, this shows that GAM failed to respect the freedom of movement of independent civilians carrying out their activities in Aceh. Such experiences may further discourage humanitarian organizations from operating in Aceh.

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