Headlines

Foreigners again targets
of terror in Aceh

Foreign citizens have yet again become the target of terror attacks in Aceh, this time against two American citizens staying in a house at the Syiah Kuala University lecturer's housing complex in Banda Aceh.

The shooting attack caused damage to several windows, but no casualties were reported.

The US citizens, both English lecturers at the university, were asleep when their home was riddled with bullets by unidentified gunmen.

According to Syiah Kuala Police chief Second Insp. Abdul Mutholib, both of the women were inside the house when the shooting took place at around 6:30 a.m.

"They dived for cover when they heard the sound of gunfire outside their home. They heard between five and six gunshots," said Mutholib.

The women did not immediately report the incident to police, leaving the house to shop for groceries after which they went to work, not far from where they live. Police only received reports of the shooting at around 10 a.m..

"They told their work colleagues about the shooting incident and later reported it to police," said Mutholib.

Police are currently investigating the scene of the crime at the women's house and searching for bullets from the gun used by the assailants.

Members of Aceh's civil society institutions said attacks against foreign citizens in Aceh could have serious impacts on the peace process.

According to the groups, the violence is part of a pattern of terror attacks against the peace, which target institutions that have been persistent in promoting the peace process.

"We are aware that the threats were politically motivated and not a random attack," said Shadiah Marhaban, head of the Inong Aceh League, a group that works with Acehnese women affected by the conflict.

The attack was the third of its kind this month. On Nov. 5, head of the German Red Cross for Aceh, Bernhard Bauer, was shot as he was driving along one of Banda Aceh's main roads. Although he sustained serious gunshot wounds, Bauer survived the ordeal after receiving treatment in Singapore.

Several days later, European Union representative John Penny was targeted when his home in Darul Imarah district, Aceh Besar regency was fired upon by unidentified assailants on Nov. 16. Penny and his wife avoided injury in the attack, which shattered the house's windows.

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