Indonesian province candidate for governor slain

Separatist group says the military is to blame

September 17, 2000|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

JAKARTA, Indonesia - A prominent Islamic university rector who was a leading candidate for governor of Aceh, a province roiled by secessionists, was assassinated early yesterday, underscoring the violence that has plagued the region and all Indonesia in recent months.

Two unidentified men shot Safwan Idris, 51, in the neck at his home on the campus of the State Institute of Islamic Studies on the outskirts of provincial capital, Banda Aceh, said Superintendent Sayed Husaini. Safwan died at a hospital.

The slaying brings to at least 120 the number of people killed in Aceh since a June 2 truce between separatists and Indonesian troops.

While police said they were uncertain who is behind the killing, Ayah Muni, a commander of the separatist Free Aceh Movement, blamed elements in the military.

Since 1975, the Free Aceh Movement has been fighting for independence from Indonesia. Rebels want to introduce Islamic law and re-establish the feudal Sultanate of Aceh.

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