UN to Disarm 4,500 DRC Ex-Militia

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RAPAPORT… The United Nations will start its program to disarm and demobilize some 4,500 ex-militia members in the unstable Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) next week (July 9-14.)

MONUC, the UN’s peacekeeping mission to the DRC, announced the scheme July 3 which will aim to reintegrate the combatants either into civilian life or into the national armed forces. Some 70 percent of ex-militia members are expected to choose civilian life where they will receive a $110 stipend to cover their transportation costs and to buy an entry card into the community reconstruction service. The card will enable them to find community construction work for $2 a day during their first 90 days. They will also be helped with micro-financing from non-government organizations to set up their own businesses.

The 30 percent expected to join the armed forces will be taken to the city of Kisangani for training before they enter the brigades.

Three militia groups in the DRC have agreed to disarm and participate in the program. These include the Mouvement Revolutionnaire Congolais (MRC,) the Front de Résistance Patriotique de l’Ituri (FRPI,) and the Front des Nationalistes et Intégrationnistes (FNI.)

The program is being run by the UN Development Programme (UNDP,) which will cover the $2.5 million budget along with Sweden, Ireland, Japan, Norway, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.)

MONUC said that two transit sites will be opened by the end of July in the cities of Bunia and Kpandroma to handle the demobilization process. These will operate for six weeks before closing so that community reconstruction service programs can begin for the reintegration of ex-combatants.

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