SLUG: 2-294984 Congo Demobilization (L-O)
TITLE=CONGO / DEMOBILIZATION (L-O)
INTRO: The International Organization for Migration is warning that unless it gets more money soon, it will be forced to stop its efforts to demobilize soldiers in the Republic of Congo. V-O-A's Dale Gavlak reports from Geneva, the organization says it has only enough money to continue until the end of November.
TEXT: Officials of the International Organization for Migration say they need an additional four-and-one-half-million-dollars for their work in the Republic of Congo. If they get the money, they say they will be able to demobilize up to 15-thousand militiamen. If they do not get the money, they say there could be more trouble.
A spokesman for the group, Jean Philippe Chauzy, says if former combatants are not reintegrated into society, there could be more bloodshed in the Republic of Congo.
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We will have several-thousand militiamen, combatants that will be roaming the countryside and the town and will have little other choice than to use their weapons to keep themselves alive.
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Mr. Chauzy estimates that 30-thousand unemployed young men joined militias during the late nineties, primarily as a means of survival. At the time, the Republic of Congo was torn apart by ethnic and political rivalries, and by joining militias the men believed they had a greater chance of getting food and shelter. .
Mr. Chauzy says a cease-fire struck two-years ago between the Brazzaville government and rebels encouraged fighters to disband and disarm. He says the International Organization for Migration has played a key role in the process, but more work must be done.
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This program has achieved quite a lot. It has managed to collect and destroy more than 11-thousand weapons, small light weapons but also heavy weapons, and it has reintegrated more than eight-thousand former combatants.
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In addition to the Republic of Congo, the International Organization for Migration has carried out demobilization programs elsewhere in Africa, including Angola and Mozambique. (SIGNED)
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