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Indonesian Guerrillas Seek Asylum in Finland - 2002-04-10


Two Indonesian men claiming to be members of a guerrilla group from the northern province of Aceh are seeking asylum at the Finnish embassy in Jakarta.

The two men say they are seeking asylum in Finland because they see no chance for a political solution to the years of conflict in the beleaguered Aceh province.

One of the two, 30-year-old Ermiadi, said he and his 31-year-old friend, Teuku Nasruddinsyah, entered the embassy pretending they wanted to visit Finland.

Mr. Ermiadi says the two belong to the political wing of the Free Aceh Movement, a guerrilla organization that has been fighting for independence of Aceh for more than 30 years.

He says they chose Finland because they believe Scandinavian countries have a strong respect for human rights.

A spokesman for the Free Aceh Movement, who is based in Sweden, says he couldn't confirm whether the asylum-seekers are from the guerrilla group.

The Free Aceh Movement has been fighting the government forces since 1976 when it declared the resource-rich province independent from Indonesia.