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3 Killed in Indonesian Province

June 30, 1999

LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia (AP) _ Three civilians have been found fatally stabbed, and arson attacks have forced 20,000 people to flee their homes in Indonesia’s restive Aceh province, witnesses and medical workers said today.

The three bodies were found Tuesday with neck wounds in the Tanah Jamboaya and Baktya districts in northern Aceh.

The deaths bring the murder toll to five this week, including two primary school teachers found with fatal stab wounds Monday. Last week, unidentified gunmen killed about a dozen civilians and soldiers.

Witnesses said a rash of arson attacks continued Tuesday in northern Aceh and Pidie, sending more people to mosques and schools for refuge.

The displaced people, believed to number 20,000, were reported to be short of food and medical supplies. Diarrhea and eye ailments were said to be rampant at their shelters.

The military and separatist rebels in the province, about 1,100 miles northwest of Jakarta, have swapped accusations over who was responsible for the deaths and arson attacks.

Acehnese rebels have been fighting to set up an independent Islamic state in a struggle distinct from the independence movement in East Timor, another Indonesian province.

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