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Aceh rebels disband armed wing BANDA ACEH - Indonesia's Aceh rebels formally disbanded their armed wing on Tuesday, effectively ending their 30-year separatist insurgency one year after the tsunami destroyed their battlefield. The move paves the way for the guerrillas to transform themselves into candidates in provincial elections in April, in which they expect to win strong support.

"The Acehnese national army, or the armed wing of the Free Aceh Movement, has demobilized and disbanded," Sofyan Daud, one of the group's commanders, told reporters. "The Aceh national army is now part of civil society, and will work to make the peace deal a success." The action takes effect immediately, he said.

Tuesday's action is a key step in a peace plan born out of the devastation wrought by the tsunami to end an insurgency has left at least 15,000 people dead. "We are entering a political era now, we do not need weapons anymore," Daud said. The announcement came shortly after rebel representatives met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Banda Aceh, the capital of the province that was the area worst hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Under the peace accord, the government has agreed to withdraw its troops from Aceh, grant the province broad autonomy and allow former rebels to stand in the elections. The rebels agreed to disarm and disband. So far, the deal has stuck. International peace monitors have overseen the destruction of 840 rebel weapons, and Yudhoyono on Tuesday repeated the government's promise to have the last of more than 24,000 forces gone by the end of the year.

Both sides on Tuesday played down the prospective threat of a proposal by Indonesia's military chief, Gen. Endriartono Sutarto, to send up to 500 new troops to Aceh to help with tsunami reconstruction. Yudhoyono said any additional troops would be engineers who would build roads and bridges.

"This deployment should not disturb the ongoing peace process," he said. Irwandi Yusuf, a senior rebel negotiator, said such a deployment would breach the peace accord and that he believed it would not happen.


Link to related event Related event:
The Aceh conflict

Related blog entries (category 'Aceh conflict') Related blog entries (category 'Aceh conflict'):
24 December 2005 · Govt to withdraw last troops from Aceh on 29th December
19 December 2005 · Former Aceh rebels complete weapons handover
21 November 2005 · Indonesia pulls troops out of Aceh
14 November 2005 · Weapons handover continues in Aceh
02 November 2005 · Exiled GAM leader returns to Aceh


Posted in Aceh conflict @ 27 December 2005 20:32 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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