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Aceh rebels surrounded


ACEH, Indonesia (CNN) -- Indonesian government forces have surrounded hundreds of rebels in the troubled Aceh region, according to military sources.

It is not clear what the government forces intend to do with the rebels, which they have been fighting in the most recent round of violence, which has lasted about two weeks.

Fighting between the separatist Free Aceh movement (GAM) and security forces have killed 10,000, most of them civilians, since the rebellion began in the 1970s.

Sporadic peace talks between the two sides have taken place over the past several years, and a round of talks scheduled in Geneva, Switzerland were recently canceled.

Since then, the Indonesian government has tried to restart the talks but demands a cease-fire between the two sides.

Human rights groups have blamed both the military and the rebels for the killings as well as the widespread incidents of torture, kidnappings, rapes and disappearances.

Over the past year, violence in Aceh has increased and human rights groups estimate at least 600 people died in the region during the first six months of 2002.

The rebel group's strength is estimated at 3,000 personnel, with some 2,700 weapons, according to Indonesia's top security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

A military commander in Aceh told CNN there were about 22,000 troops in the province but many of them were assigned to administrative tasks.

"Only about 9,000 of them are mobilized on the ground to face GAM," the officer said.

-- CNN's Atika Shubert and's Amy Chew contributed to this report

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