The Aceh Monitoring Mission lowered its flag for the last time yesterday at a low-key closing ceremony. The pleasantries over, the last 36 members of the European-led team headed to the airport to fly home, ending a mission that has lasted 15 months. The AMM headquarters, a white two-storey building inside Banda Aceh's Syah Kuala University, has been gradually vacated over the past few weeks. The Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government, which ended their 29-year war with an accord in Helsinki last August, entrusted the AMM to ensure the peace deal was properly implemented. Aceh held landmark elections this week, with millions voting for governor, town mayors and district chiefs. Former rebel leader Irwandi Yusuf secured enough votes, according to early counting, to become the provincial governor. The end of the mission leaves behind a big void, worrying some and drawing criticism from others. 'Yes, I am worried,' said fruit seller Isalahudin, 38. 'It has all gone very well with the foreign monitors, but I am afraid it will not be the same now. Indonesians listen to foreigners.' Many are fearful that peace is still too fragile to be handled without third-party monitoring. Tarmizi, 32, director of the Aceh People Forum, an umbrella organisation of academics and activists engaged in Aceh, said: 'There is still mistrust between GAM and the Indonesian government. If someone commits abuses, we need someone to mediate. 'The military is still very powerful, and maybe only a foreign organisation can keep it in check.' Mr Tarmizi did not shy away from criticising the monitoring mission, which he said did not fully abide by, or fulfil, its mandate. 'It was supposed to ensure that the [peace deal] was translated into law. But the law approved by the national government is rather different to what the two parties signed in Helsinki,' he said. 'Also, the team was supposed to monitor the reintegration of the 3,000 former GAM combatants into society, but this is far from completed.' Yet mission spokesman Juri Laas argues the team fully accomplished its mission. 'We have done all that was requested of us. The reintegration of the ex-combatants is a very long process that will probably merge with the tsunami reconstruction and may last for the next five to 10 years,' Mr Juri said. 'It is mainly the responsibility of the Indonesian government, and I do not think it justifies [our] presence.' To ease the fears, Mr Juri said the GAM and Jakarta were ready to handle the differences alone. 'In truth, it has been happening for a while. In the last few months, we have been less and less involved in mediating disputes, which have mostly been solved by the two parts alone,' he said, underlining that the mission's departure did not mean Aceh was being abandoned. 'The European Union, among other organisations and institutions, is still very involved here with many programmes, including some dealing with the reintegration of former fighters,' he said. 'The world will still keep a watchful eye on Aceh.'