Thousands of armed personnel patrol polling stations in Aceh

ACEH (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Police and the Iskandar Muda Military Command have deployed thousands of armed personnel to guard polling stations in northern and eastern coastal areas of Aceh.

Aceh Police chief Inspector General Husein Hamidi said on Wednesday that the areas, in particular Lhokseumawe and Bireuen, had been a hotbed for political violence leading up to the parliamentary election in Indonesia.

"We have 9,133 personnel, or two-thirds of our total capacity, to guard the polling stations across Aceh. Meanwhile, the remaining personnel will conduct patrols," he said.

The security operation has also been reinforced by 1,400 Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers and 341 personnel from the National Police headquarters in Jakarta.

Iskandar Muda Military Command chief Major General Pandu Wibowo said that 2,100 soldiers had been dispatched to the polling stations to support the operation.

"They have been instructed to step up security measures in the spots by working hand in hand with the police," he said.

Up to 3.31 million Aceh citizens are expected to cast their votes on in the election on Wednesday.

"Some people who are dissatisfied with the election results may conduct violent acts. Hopefully, we can maintain security until the conclusion of general election," Gen Husein said.