Photo by Muntasir Sharafadin, UNAMID.
EL GENEINA – Some 500 ex-combatants, including 30 women, are going through the process of demobilization and return to civilian life at a camp in El Geneina, West Darfur, thanks in part to support from UNAMID.
The session, which kicked off on 17 May and is expected to continue for 10-days, represents the fourth round of demobilization. It is supported by UNAMID, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission. The Commission is supporting the demobilization of a further 150 ex-combatants from the Sudan Armed Forces and the Popular Defense Forces.
The former combatants are from non-government armed movements that signed the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). They comprise elements of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), Popular Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (PFRD) and Liberal and Reform (L&R) Movement.
Islika Sesay, Head of UNAMID’s Community Stabilization Section in West Darfur, described the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process as part of the final security arrangements in the implementation of the DDPD and DPA.
“The successful execution of this operation will bring the official number of ex-combatants demobilized from movement forces since 2010, to a total of 3,306 adults in West Darfur,” said Mr. Sesay.
Captain Jamaleldin Abdullah, Commander of the demobilization camp, explained that 150 ex-combatants have been demobilized since the camp was launched on 15 May.
“I would like to thank UNAMID and WFP for supporting the process,” said Captain Abdullah, noting that the UN Development Fund would play a subsequent role.
Ex-combatants interviewed during the session emphasized the importance of peace and urged non-signatory movements to put down their arms and join the peace process.
A former combatant said that his group considers peace a strategic option, so he and others signed the document to bring about peace and alleviate the suffering of the people of Darfur from the scourge of war.
Another former combatant echoed the call for peace, saying it would improve conditions for refugees and enable internally displaced people to return to their homes.
UNAMID provided logistical, technical and financial support to the session including a payment to each ex-combatant to assist with their move to civilian life. WFP provided the ex-combatants with food rations for three months. In addition, the UNDP will facilitate assistance after the demobilization exercise, including support through income-generation projects.