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Jakarta Post

Construction workers accidentally dig up mass grave of tsunami victims in Aceh

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 20, 2018   /   01:03 pm
Construction workers accidentally dig up mass grave of tsunami victims in Aceh An Aceh women places a bouquet at a mass burial site during the commemoration of the 2004 tsunami in Banda Aceh on Dec. 26, 2017. JP/Hotli Simanjuntak (JP/Hotli Simanjuntak)

Construction workers on a public housing project in Kajhu Village in Aceh Besar, Aceh, were shocked to find 45 body bags bodies believed to be victims of the 2004 tsunami as they were excavating to build a septic tank. 

The workers said they did no know that part of the land for the housing project was actually a mass grave. 

Kajhu village was one of the worst hit areas when a 9.3-magnitude earthquake triggered a giant tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Aceh on Dec. 25, 2004.

Around 85 percent of Kajhu’s residents were killed while those who survived the disaster decided to leave the village.  

Aceh Disaster Management Agency head Teuku Ahmad Dadek said the residents managed to identify at least four of the bodies by their IDs.   

“The body of Sri Yunida, a Sei Karang resident, will be taken by her family," Ahmad Dadek said on Wednesday, as quoted by

The remaining bodies will be moved to the village’s graveyard.

Samuel, a local, said that dozens of bags containing human bodies were found buried less than 1 meter underground.

The residents helped dig up the mass grave following the finding of the body bags.  "We believe the location of the housing project is a mass grave, but it was unknown because there was no sign of anything," Samuel said.

The construction project, meanwhile, has been suspended. (ggq)