Sunday, July 08, 2007

Demobilization in Ituri

The UN's IRIN news service reports on some welcome news from Ituri. The international body has launched a program to demobilize some 4500 in the northeastern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The programme is being implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with the DRC government, MONUC and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Ex-fighters participating in the programme include former members of the Front Nationaliste et Intégrationniste, led Peter Karim; the Forces de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri of Cobra Matata; and the Mouvement Révolutionnaire Congolais, headed by Mathieu Ngudjolo.

The three groups had remained active, fighting each other and attacking civilians, despite peace agreements culminating in presidential and parliamentary elections in DRC in 2006.

The UNDP believes that about 30 percent of the soldiers will join the newly reconstituted national army while the rest will rejoin civilian life.

Interestingly, the demobilised will this time participate in community development activities, such as the repair of roads, bridges, schools and water-supply facilities and receive a $2 daily wage.

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