Indonesia threatens to step up Aceh assault

Indonesia's military said yesterday it will step up air and land attacks on separatist guerrillas in Aceh province, and threatened night curfews in areas with the fiercest fighting.

The commander of the military campaign denied allegations from the Free Aceh Movement that soldiers had killed 10 civilians, including two 12-year-old boys, during a raid on Wednesday on a fishing village in northern Aceh.

It was impossible to independently verify either side's claims. Peace monitors have fled the area.

Neighbouring Malaysia, with strong cultural ties to Aceh, warned that regional stability was under threat, but said it didn't want a divided Indonesia. The United States, United Nations, Japan, the European Union and Australia have urged Indonesia and the rebels to resume negotiations.

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