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NEWS: Tsunami Relief: US Chopper Crashes, Aftershocks & Rebel Threats

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posted on Jan, 9 2005 @ 11:02 PM
With the world coming together to aid the victims of SE Asia's tsunami-stricken citizens, setbacks are causing additional problems in an already difficult effort. A US Seahawk helicopter crashed at an Indonesian airport at Banda Aceh today, injuring all on board. A powerful 6.2 magnitude aftershock rocked the region later in the day; it is unclear if any injuries resulted, but the tremblor was powerful enough to send residents into a panic. Perhaps more troublesome, though, is the threat of rebel separatist violence in the northern provinces.
ndonesia's military beefed up security in the area on Sunday and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sought to reassure relief workers after a burst of gunfire outside a deputy police chief's house and near the main U.N. aid office in Banda Aceh.

There was confusion over who was behind the shooting, with some officials blaming separatist rebels, while others said a disturbed government soldier fired the shots. No one was hurt.

"The security operation conducted by Indonesia's military and police will protect, secure the humanitarian efforts," Yudhoyono told reporters to allay any concern among hundreds of Western aid workers pouring in.

Chief social welfare minister Alwi Shihab said the military had ordered a high alert because of what he called possible infiltration by people wary of the foreigners' presence.

There have been reports of militant Islamic groups moving into Aceh as they believed Western aid groups might use the disaster to push a Christian agenda.

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With more than 150,000 dead in this tragedy and millions of others affected, each issue that arises is another blow to the residents trying to regain their lives. Most disheartening are the threats of violence by separatist groups, who have been just as affected as the rest of the region. Aid workers are most at risk, according to the area's military officials -- the same aid workers who are trying to save lives.

posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 06:11 AM
Fould play or groundfire have been ruled out in the crash of the SH60.

The SH60 helicopter crashed in a rice paddy about 500m from the airport in Banda Aceh, the main city on Indonesia's tsunami-battered Sumatra island, as it was trying to land, he said.

"There was no fire ball but a little smoke. It landed on its side," Plenzler said, adding that the helicopter's propeller was twisted from the impact of the crash.

US authorities said there was no indication the helicopter had been shot down.

"We can rule out ground fire, but until there is investigation the determination of the cause of the accident can't be made," Plenzler said.

posted on Jan, 10 2005 @ 07:42 AM
Hardline Islamists Warn Australia About Aceh.

Habib Rizieq Shihab, head of the Islamic Defender's Front (FPI), said Australian assistance in Aceh could herald the start of an East Timor-style intervention designed to secure independence for the troubled northern province.


Just shows that militant extremists will use any 'means' to cause further pain and hinder any relief efforts to the area.

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