BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Dec 27 (Reuters): Former rebels in Indonesia's Aceh said Tuesday that they had disbanded their military wing, just days before the last of Jakarta's troop reinforcements leave the tsunami-hit province.
The military chief of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), Muzakkir Manaf, also reiterated his commitment to a peace pact signed in Helsinki on Aug. 15 with the Indonesian government.
The landmark deal, spurred on by the tsunami that smashed into Indian Ocean coastlines on Dec. 26 last year, ended one of Asia's longest-running civil wars which killed 15,000 people.
"On behalf of the GAM combatants, I have the honour to announce that the Aceh National Armed Forces, or GAM fighters, are now demobilised and decommissioned," Manaf said in a statement read at a news conference in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, by another senior rebel figure, Irwandi Yusuf.
The dissolution of GAM's military wing comes after the last of 840 weapons handed in by the ex-rebels were destroyed a week ago, fulfilling one of the pact's most important conditions.
It also paves the way for the former rebel group to take part in Aceh's political process, with elections for local administrative posts to be contested next year.
In Aceh for ceremonies marking the first anniversary of the tsunami, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters he believed GAM had handed in all its weapons.