Over 150 ex-combatants who once fought for armed militia in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region participated today in a United Nations-backed demobilization and reintegration programme which aims to ease the return of former soldiers to their communities.
The three-day scheme, supported by the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission to Darfur (UNAMID) and the Sudanese Government, is expected to register more than 400 ex-combatants in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher before moving onto West and South Darfur.
The process involves briefings on what to expect during reintegration, verification of administrative documents, medical and disability screening, fingerprinting, and the provision of identification cards.
Participants are also given a cash payment in local currency of $150 and after two months they receive food vouchers in addition to other basic amenities.
Since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen against rebel groups, some 300,000 people have been killed and an estimated 2.7 million others displaced from their homes in Darfur.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme is part of the final security arrangement of the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, which paved the way for the deployment of UNAMID at the start of last year.