BANDA ACEH — Two Indonesian intelligence officers were found shot dead today, a day after being kidnapped by gunmen in the former separatist rebel heartland of Aceh in the country's west, a military spokesman said.
The bodies of the two soldiers were found face down and half naked in a remote area in northern Aceh, said spokesman Machfud. The hands of one soldier had been bound behind his back.
"Authorities found the bodies this morning in a jungle close to the location where they were kidnapped," Machfud, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said.
Police had yet to determine a motive for the killings, or the identities of the gunmen.
Witnesses said a group of gunmen ambushed the soldiers as they returned from questioning residents about former rebels considered active in the east and north of the province on Sumatra Island's northernmost tip.
Their car was found abandoned a short time later.
Machfud denied the military was questioning local residents, saying its presence in the province was limited to "social work such as helping farmers in paddy fields".
The episode was a reminder of the fragile security situation in Aceh a decade after a peace deal ended a 30-year separatist insurgency in the province that left some 25,000 people dead.
Attacks on soldiers are now rare in Aceh, although gun-related violence is not uncommon. — AFP