The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply concerned about the safety of journalists Ersa Siregar and Ferry Santoro, who went missing over the weekend while reporting on the conflict in the northwestern province of Aceh for the private Indonesian television channel RCTI.
Colleagues said that the two were last heard from at around 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, when Siregar called an RCTI reporter in the town of Lhokseumawe, in northern Aceh, to say they were on the way there from Langsa, a town in the eastern part of the province. Siregar, a senior reporter for RCTI, said he and Santoro, an RCTI cameraman, should arrive in Lhokseumawe by around 8:00 p.m. that night. The two, along with their driver, Rahmatsyah, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, were traveling in a Toyota Kijang minivan, according to news reports.
Today, according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Syafrie Syamsuddin told reporters in the capital, Jakarta, that the military has “coordinated with the martial law administration in Aceh to instruct all district, subdistrict, and village military commands to help locate” the missing journalists.
As an independent organization dedicated to the defense of our colleagues worldwide, CPJ welcomes today’s pledge and encourages Your Excellency to do everything within your power to see that these missing journalists are found.
We respectfully ask that CPJ be kept informed about the status of the military’s investigation into this urgent matter.
Ann K. Cooper