Indonesian leader says locked gates contributed to deaths of 5 children in March
ISTANBUL – The leader of an Islamic separatist group that has been fighting against the central government for decades has said that a state of emergency declaration led to the deaths of at least five children and that lockdowns at schools with students have contributed to the violence in the past week.
The warning came at the start of a rare weekend at Turkey’s main international airport, where dozens of families have left their homes.
The statement from the group, seeking independence for a section of the Kurdish southeast, was the first time an Indonesian official has acknowledged a role in the deaths of five children who died in March.
“We call for a state of emergency to be declared immediately as long as it is to protect our children and prevent more deaths,” said the statement on Friday.
In an interview televised on state broadcaster TRT Haber on Saturday, the leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah group, Adnan Abu Bakar, said that a total of 13 people have died in the violence as more than 2,000 people have been detained. Five of them died in March. Two of the schoolgirls, aged 12 and 14, were on Saturday.
The statement said the government had not acted on the request for a state of emergency.
The Jemaah Islamiyah group was founded in the 1930s as a political movement by Muslim separatists in the northeastern province of Aceh to resist the creation of a modern state with a majority Chinese population.
In the 1950s it gained significant support for a failed coup against President Sukarno after his government embarked on a program of building modernisation.
Rights groups estimate that 20 to 30 million people are now under the control of Jemaah Islamiyah, which has also been involved in several bloody attacks on the central government.
It is accused of committing a string of terror attacks carried out by a group of around 20 militants since the 1980s, including an assassination attempt on the head of Indonesia’s security services in 1996.
“We say that the state of emergency has been used to create conditions that have caused