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Indonesian Soldiers Withdrawing from Aceh


Indonesia has begun withdrawing government forces from Aceh province, the first major step in a new peace agreement between the government and separatist rebels to end a three-decade conflict.

Military officials say more than 1,200 soldiers shipped out Monday as part of the peace deal signed last week in Finland.

The agreement is intended to end 29 years of bloodshed between the Indonesian government and Free Aceh Movement rebels costing 15,000 lives.

The peace deal calls for Indonesia to pull out non-local army and police forces, and for rebels to demobilize.

Indonesia will grant amnesty to rebels, except those jailed for common crimes.

Aceh will be allowed to manage its own natural resources and keep 70 percent of revenues. The province will also be allowed to have local political representation.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.