Priest in Aceh says he hopes peace accord can end decades of conflict
Published: August 16, 2005
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNS) -- The pastor of Aceh province's only Catholic parish said he hopes the peace deal signed by the Indonesian government and separatist rebels can be implemented after several decades of violent conflict. Indonesia's chief negotiator, Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin, and Malik Mahmud, the exiled leader of the Free Aceh Movement, signed the treaty Aug. 15 in Helsinki, Finland. The agreement ended a three-decade conflict that has taken an estimated 15,000 mostly civilian lives in the oil-rich province. "Many Aceh people believe peace will come," Franciscan Father Ferdinando Severi, pastor of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Banda Aceh, told UCA News, an Asian church news agency based in Thailand, Aug. 15. "They enthusiastically and happily welcomed it with public prayers and a ... parade, shouting 'Peace, peace, peace.'"
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