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Govt to end Aceh martial law; troops to stay JAKARTA - Indonesia will end military rule in its strife-torn province of Aceh, but retain a large troop presence there, a minister said on Thursday. "Principally, the cabinet agreed to lower the status from military emergency to civil emergency," Interior Minister Hari Sabarno told reporters. "The operation to restore security is still needed and will be maintained...The threat from GAM (rebels) still exists."
Jakarta imposed martial law on Aceh, at the northernmost tip of the island of Sumatra, after talks with separatists from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) collapsed on May 19, 2003, paving the way for a military offensive. Martial law was initially imposed for six months but was extended for another half-year in November. The current term ends on May 19. Under martial law, the top leader is an army general, while civil emergency means the territory is ruled by a civilian governor. In both situations, the administration can issue extraordinary decrees for curfews and house searches.
The military says it has killed around 2,000 members of GAM and captured 3,000 more since May. But the figure is hard to verify as foreign media and non-governmental agencies are largely prevented from working in Aceh.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 13 May 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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