JAKARTA: The killing of civilians has dropped sharply in Indonesia's Aceh province since the signing of a landmark peace accord between the central government and rebels, a Geneva-based organisation that brokered the deal said.
The Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue said that in the four weeks since the agreement was signed, there had been 11 unconfirmed civilian deaths connected to the conflict. That compared to an average of 87 reported civilian killings a month for most of last year.
There has been widespread pessimism about whether the Dec 9 accord would hold despite international pressure on both sides to make it work, and end more than two decades of fighting that has killed at least 10,000 people.
“Even one death is one too many and both sides regret those,” David Gorman, a mediator and representative of the Henry Dunant Centre in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, said in a statement yesterday
“But it is a key indicator of the willingness by the sides to stop the killing and that the peace process is gaining momentum.”
While civilian deaths have dropped, the pact has been shaken by clashes between troops and rebels and accusations from both sides, including a rebel claim that soldiers killed up to 10 villagers soon after the pact was signed.
The army has denied that charge, and it was unclear if the rebel claim was included in the unconfirmed deaths. – Reuters
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