Former rebel leader and veterinarian Irwandi Yusuf was recently elected governer of the Indonesian province of Aceh. According to a recent BBC News report, Yusuf was jailed for treason in 2003, escaped during the 2004 tsunami, and was a reluctant candidate:
“Being the governor is like being in prison, I will lose my freedom.”
Yusuf received his veterinary degree from Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, where he was later a faculty member, and a master’s degree from the Oregon State College of Veterinary Medicine.
In Time Andrew Marshall explains how his actions might have inadvertantly sent Yusuf (code name “Iskander”) to prison.
In may 2003, while I was reporting on the civil war then raging in the Indonesian province of Aceh, rebels of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (G.A.M.) opened fire on a car carrying me and three colleagues, almost killing us. Afterwards, furious, I called and text messaged my G.A.M. contact, code-named “Iskander,” to tell him to get his trigger-happy men to stand down. Iskander’s role as a G.A.M. operative was secret—until I unwittingly blew his cover that day. When I called, he was being questioned by the police, who saw my incriminating messages arrive on his phone.
Yusuf faces challenges in his four-year term as governor that most U.S. veterianrians will never have to handle. I wish him well.