South Sudan to demobilize 150,000 ex-combatants

26 Apr 2012

South Sudan to demobilize 150,000 ex-combatants

23 April 2012 - To create awareness of their eight-year work plan to demobilize 150,000 ex-combatants, South Sudan's disarmament commission today held its first sensitization forum in Wau, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State.

This second phase of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) would begin at the boma (village) level and move on up to the payam (district), county and state levels, said John Banykwey, South Sudanese DDR Commission director general for programmes at its Juba headquarters.

"Our role to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate the ex-combatants in phase two differs from the former programmes (which began at the state level)," the director general said.

Phase one DDR, which began in June 2009, was completed in April 2011 under the auspices of the previous UN Mission in Sudan. The total demobilized in South Sudan was 12,525, according the UNMISS DDR office.

During the seminar, participants discussed who the target audience for DDR would be, vocational training to be offered, and incentives to be given ex-combatants.

Programmes envisioned for ex-combatants during their three-month stay at the Mapel transitional DDR facility include formal briefings about the DDR programme, psychosocial counselling, basic literacy and business as well as vocational and life-skills training.

Wau County Commissioner John Peter Miskin lauded the government's efforts to implement this programme, adding that DDR enabled ex-combatants to learn new skills and earn their livings as civilians.

UNMISS, mandated to support the government in implementing a national DDR strategy, has been helping to construct three transitional facilities in Mapel, Western Bahr El-Ghazal, Pariak, Jonglei State and New Kenya, Eastern Equatoria State.

"We as the UN family have been supporting this process since the beginning, logistically and technically, in order to bring it to success," UNMISS DDR Officer William Baang said.