Ex-rebel Becomes Aceh Governor

Ex-rebel Becomes Aceh Governor

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aceh flag"A former separatist rebel has been sworn in as the first directly elected governor of Indonesia’s Aceh province," reports the BBC. He won last December’s elections after a peace deal between the government and rebels from the Free Aceh Movement ended nearly 30 years of civil conflict that had killed 15,000 people. This cooperation between former foes blossomed as a direct result of the disasterous tsunami of 2004…

Aceh was the closest point of land to the epicenter of the massive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which triggered a tsunami that devastated much of the western coast of the region, including part of the capital of Banda Aceh. From 130,000 – 238,000 persons were dead or missing, with a further 500,000 plus being made homeless. This led to the signing of a peace agreement on August 15, 2005 between the government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

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GAM was a separatist group seeking independence for the Aceh region of Sumatra from Indonesia. GAM declared a ceasefire of hostilities to allow for aid to reach within the disputed area. In turn, the Indonesian government temporarily removed restrictions of northern Sumatra to allow for rescue efforts in that area.

Following the 2005 peace agreement with the Indonesian Government, the organisation surrendered its separatist intentions, dissolved its armed wing, and agreed to disarm. In return, a presidential decree granted amnesty to about five hundred former GAM members who were in exile in other countries, including the leadership, and unconditionally released about 1,400 members who had been jailed by the Government. Indonesia agreed to facilitate the establishment of Aceh-based political parties; this had been one of the most contentious issues in previous negotiations. A "truth and reconciliation commission" will be organized. On the question of the uneven distribution of income, it was settled that 70 percent of the income from local natural resources will stay within Aceh. (Source: Wikipedia)

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