More than 1,000 former fighters from Sudan’s armed forces and Darfur’s rebel groups are laying down their arms over the next 10 days and beginning a United Nations-backed process aimed at reintegrating them into civilian life.
The programme, which began yesterday, is based in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state and being organized by the National Sudanese Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Coordination Council.
The joint African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) will provide medical tests and HIV/AIDS counselling to participants as well as logistical support to the wider programme, the mission reported in a press release.
When the former fighters register and hand over their weapons, they receive some material support and occupational training to help them earn a living again in civilian life.
The ex-combatants are drawn from the ranks of both the military and several rebel groups in Darfur, where fighting has raged on and off in the remote Sudanese region since 2003.
UNAMID has been in place since the start of 2008 to try to quell the fighting and ease the humanitarian suffering across Darfur, where millions of people have been displaced, either internally or into neighbouring countries such as Chad.