Ex-militia members in DR Congo’s Ituri district to begin demobilizing – UN

Ex-militia members in DR Congo’s Ituri district to begin demobilizing – UN

The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme for former members of three militia groups in the volatile Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will start next week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the country (MONUC) has announced.

The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme for former members of three militia groups in the volatile Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will start next week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the country (MONUC) has announced.

Under the scheme, to be run by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), about 4,500 ex-combatants from the militias will be registered, asked to hand over their arms and then given assistance to reintegrate into either civilian life or the national armed forces.

UNDP expects that about 70 per cent of the combatants – from the militias Mouvement Revolutionnaire Congolais (MRC), the Front de Résistance Patriotique de l’Ituri (FRPI) and the Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes (FNI) – will choose civilian life, while 30 per cent will retrain for the new integrated brigades of the armed forces.

Two transit sites will be opened before the end of this month in the cities of Bunia and Kpandroma to handle the demobilization process, and they will operate for six weeks before closing so that community reconstruction service programmes can then begin for the reintegrating ex-combatants.

The entire $2.5 million programme, which is being funded by UNDP along with Sweden, Ireland, Japan, Norway and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will run for just over three months in Ituri, located in the far northeast of the DRC.

Combatants rejoining civilian life will receive $110 to help with transport costs and an entry card into the community reconstruction service, which will allow them to work on manual labour projects such as the rehabilitation of roads, schools and sanitary systems for $2 a day for up to 90 days. If they want to set up their own business, they will be given access to microfinance through local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Former militia members wanting to enter the integrated armed forces will be transported to the city of Kisangani for training before they can enter the brigades.