Martial law lifted from Aceh

Indonesia has lifted martial law from Aceh, but its 40,000 troops will continue to be in the troubled province in an attempt to quell separatist rebels.

    Indonesian forces have been fighting GAM rebels

    A year after it was imposed, Jakarta on Tuesday ended martial law and handed power in the battle-scarred region back to civilians.

    But there was little or no signs that either the insurgency or the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) had been quelled.

    In May last year, Indonesia launched a fresh military offensive against the GAM after peace talks with the rebels failed to yield results.

    Tough insurgents

    The GAM, however, survived despite suffering setbacks in the face of the army's offensive.

    "GAM has most of its leadership structure intact. It's been hurt at the lower level and it has been significantly pushed out of villages into the jungle, but it is far from defeated," said Sidney Jones, Indonesia representative of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

    GAM has been spearheading a movement for Aceh's independence from Indonesian rule. The separatists demand first surfaced in 1970s, resulting in an armed conflict that has claimed more than 10,000 lives so far.

    The military says it has killed about 2000 GAM members and captured 3000 others since the current offensive started.

    But human rights groups say tough military tactics during the year-long martial law may have alienated more Acehnese.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.