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Germany

German Troops Leave Indonesia

Germany announced on Thursday it had begun withdrawing its army personnel from the Aceh province of Indonesia that was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami. "We have now successfully fulfilled our mission," a defense ministry spokesman said in Berlin. The 150-strong German contingent will pull out in several phases with the last troops to leave on March 18 ahead of a deadline eight days later set by the Indonesian government for foreign military to withdraw from Aceh. The separatist province was off limits to outsiders until last December's tsunami as troops battled with rebels, but the government allowed foreign military to help with the massive relief effort. The German contingent concentrated on providing medical treatment for Indonesian victims of the catastrophe. German army medics took over a wing of the province's badly damaged hospital and helped in rebuilding work. Germany meanwhile announced on Wednesday that the death toll of its nationals in the overall Asian quake catastrophe had risen to 198, with another 449 still missing.

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