Subject: GAM denies its members are in W Timor

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring

Aceh citizens arrested in East Nusa Tenggara:

Analisa reported that the governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), Abdullah Puteh, had requested clarification from the East Nusa Tenggara government about the arrest of seven Aceh citizens. "We will certainly ask for clarification whether they are GAM (Free Aceh Movement) members, if it is proven that they were involved, yes... ellipsis as received then it has to be resolved through the legal process," he said.

Lelo said in Kupang "We suspect that they are part of the GAM separatist group forced into a corner in NAD because of continued pressure and opposition from TNI Indonesian National Military Forces ".

GAM military spokesman, Sofyan Daud, denied the police accusation that seven of the 25 Aceh citizens arrested in Kupang were GAM members. "Those arrested were people whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the drawn out conflict, forcing them to look for a living in another area or country," he said. According to Daud, GAM had not previously sent any activists to East Timor to study their route to independence, as was accused by the police. GAM had only sent its representatives to celebrate the East Timorese anniversary which was attended by the president. "GAM sent its representatives, but not from Aceh," he said.

Chief of East Nusa Tenggara police, Brig-Gen Jacki Uly, told Analisa that the case of the seven NAD citizens arrested in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, had been handed over to the local judiciary in Kupang on 16 June. The seven were being investigated on charges of falsifying identity cards. He said the group, which had been in East Timor since 22 May, who returned to Kupang via Atambua on 5 June, were thought to be involved in trading illegal drugs, although it was not certain if they were actually GAM members.

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