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UN-backed demobilization process kicks off in southern Sudan

12 October 2010 – Thousands of former fighters are taking part in a new United Nations-supported disarmament drive in the far south of Sudan.

The seven ex-combatants – three women and four men – were disarmed, registered and issued certificates during the launch of the scheme yesterday in Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria state in southern Sudan.

They are the first of some 2,600 people set to be disarmed in the scheme carried out by the Integrated UN Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation (DDR) Unit, comprising the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Also taking part is the Southern Sudan DDR Commission, known as SSCCRC.

The move to disarm former combatants began in Sudan early last year as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running north-south civil war.

After undergoing disarmament and demobilization, including medical examinations and career counselling, the ex-fighters in Eastern Equatoria will be reintegrated by receiving training in small business skills and vocational training in carpentry, tailoring, auto mechanics, driving, plumbing and others areas.

Marchenia Eley Luchano, one of the fighters demobilized yesterday, said she hoped to begin civilian work to earn enough to feed her five children once she finished the process.

“If the Government assists me with land and farm tools, I will grow more food to feed my children and send them to school,” said the widow.

To date, DDR has been carried out in the states of Central Equatoria, Lakes and Northern Bahr El Ghazal. Later this month, the scheme will be launched in Western Bahr El Ghazal state.

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