Indonesia: December 10, 2002


 The army also said it would lift a month long siege of a rebel base in the mountains and reduce police and army patrols. The government has 15,000 special police and 20,000 troops fighting the GAM, and in the past few months, rebel activity has ceased in many parts of Aceh because of the military operations. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the process, but the rebels have been forced to move into a smaller and smaller area. Part of the peace deal is for GAM to surrender its weapons starting in two months. Until this is done, the autonomy will not be implemented. But there are many factions in the GAM, and not all of them are willing to settle for autonomy, and want to fight on for independence. So the peace deal could still unravel.

Meanwhile, the government is coming to realize that failing to arrest known Islamic radicals when religious violence broke out over the last few years has merely encouraged the radicals and created more violence. This included the Bali bombing. All of the violence has been bad for the economy, gotten thousands of innocent people killed and caused the government much grief. 




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