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Indonesia police charge 14 suspected Aceh militants

Indonesian soldiers in Aceh province (23 Feb 2010)
Soldiers have been carrying out raids in Aceh province

Police in Indonesia have charged 14 suspected Islamist militants with plotting to launch terrorist attacks.

The men were arrested in several raids over the past 10 days in the mountains of Aceh province.

A police spokesman said the group had been practising weapons use and engaging in military exercises in preparation for "an act of terror".

Those charged are believed by officials to be members of a previously unknown terror group.

One man was shot dead after he tried to escape, said police.

"The suspects arrested were conducting military exercises in the form of physical exercise, practising using weapons, combat training, field exercises and other military exercises," said Maj Gen Edward Aritonang.

"It was all done in preparation for planning to commit an act of terror."

Bali links probed

The men were detained in several raids since 22 February, when the first four were arrested in Aceh's mountains.

Indonesia map

On Wednesday, police said rifles and thousands of bullets were seized in the raid, along with DVDs on the Bali bombings of 2002 that killed more than 200 people.

Police are still searching for a number of people who fled the raids, but say they are investigating possible links with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was blamed by the authorities for the Bali attacks.

However, analysts say JI has not previously been active in Aceh.

Aceh is home to its own separatist nationalist group, GAM, which became a political party following a 2005 peace agreement and now has members running local governments.

A recent International Crisis Group report nevertheless found that there was still deep suspicion between the military and some former rebels.



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